Golden goal keeps Milford boys’ lacrosse unbeaten

DELMAR – Mark Henderson didn’t have time to think before taking the shot.

But after the 30-yard attempt found its mark in the Delmar cage with 1:34 remaining in overtime, the junior knew its significance.

Junior Mark Henderson's golden goal gave Milford a rare win over Delmar. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Junior Mark Henderson’s golden goal gave Milford a rare win over Delmar. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Henderson’s golden goal, his third score of the match, lifted Milford to a 6-5 victory over the Wildcats and moved the Buccaneers to 6-0 on the season. The Bucs have had trouble with Delmar in the past and lost both games to the Wildcats last season by lopsided scores.

“I just shot my hardest and it went in,” Henderson said of the goal, which came off an assist from senior Ring Lardner. “All I saw was an opportunity to win the game for my team.

“My freshman and my sophomore year they hounded us, and I just wanted to come up and give it to them one time,” he added. “I was honestly waiting for this game all year.”

Leading 5-4 with 3:30 to play, Milford had possession and attempted to call a timeout. The Bucs, however, didn’t have any remaining and in the ensuing chaos Delmar got an empty goal look that junior Jeremy Haynes (3 goals) capitalized on to knot the score.

Being a senior-driven team, head coach Blake Faukner said, helped Milford recover quickly from the mental error. That proved important later as the Bucs, down two men for nearly the last minute of regulation after penalties, had to keep Delmar from scoring a possible winner.

“It was miscommunication, I thought the official told me that we had a timeout left but I guess we didn’t,” Faulkner said. “We owe it all to our seniors. They stepped up in more ways than one, especially our defense. And I can’t say enough about (junior) Clay Stevenson in cage. He’s been huge for us all year. And offensively we put the ball in the hands of our leaders, Mark and Ring, and they know how to take over a game if needed to.”

Henderson gave Milford a 1-0 lead with 4:30 remaining in the opening quarter, but the Wildcats scored two unanswered times in the second and took a one-goal advantage with just less than five minutes remaining before halftime.

Lardner, however, scored his first of two goals two minutes before half and the teams went into the break tied 2-2.

Neither team could capitalize on opportunities for most of the third quarter, but Delmar’s Remington Plunkert scored off an Alex Rosenthal assist with 8.9 seconds on the clock and the Wildcats took a 3-2 advantage into the final period.

Milford's boys' lacrosse team is 6-0 to start the season. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Milford’s boys’ lacrosse team is 6-0 to start the season. (Milford Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Less than 1:30 into the fourth quarter, Milford senior Zachary Heesh rattled the cage to re-tie the game 3-3 and Henderson put the Bucs back on top two minutes later with a goal off a shot from just outside the crease.

Plunkert tied the game again, 4-4, with 6:10 remaining in regulation, but 20 seconds later the Bucs responded with Lardner’s second goal of the contest and setup the wild finish to the quarter.

Next up for Milford is Friday’s 7:30 p.m. game versus Newark at Wesley College. The Bucs and Wildcats are scheduled to meet again May 6 at Milford High.

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

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