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Stampede tramples foes

The Gold Country Stampede lacrosse team did something many didn’t expect after just two seasons of existence.

They won.

Not just a game or two, either. No, the Stampede lost just one game all season, finished with a 19-1 record and beat the West Valley Red Hawks in Sunday’s Northern California Championships in the “B” division.



The Stampede won 9-8 in sudden death.

“We knew as a staff and a club that was a good group of athletes,” said coach Terry Baxter. “The year before they were undefeated until the first round of the tournament.”




Still, just two years into it, the Stampede now have a championship trophy.

“Toward the end of the season, we had a good group of kids that were starting to gel as a team,” Baxter said. “They had some games that they weren’t playing their best but still won.

“Then we went to the (Cherry Island) Jamboree and beat two “A” teams,” Baxter said. “That was an indicator that we could be something pretty special.”

In the championship game, the Stampede fell behind 4-0 before clawing back into contention. Nick Harris scored two goals for the Stampede to make the score 4-2 heading into the second.

Cody Larmarche narrowed the gap to one with a goal in the second and Patrick Kontinnen scored the first of his five goals in the game to tie it.

West Valley led 5-4 at the half.

Defensemen Sean O’Brien and Joe Lavelle helped keep West Valley’s leading scorer out of the net for the remainder of the game and goalie Alec Hamlin made seven saves in that time.

Kontinnen scored twice in the third to make the score 6-6 heading into the fourth.

The Hawks scored two quick goals to start the fourth, but Kontinnen pulled the Stampede to back within one and midfielder Chris Carcido won a faceoff and charged downfield to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Kontinnen fired in the game-winner in overtime to raise the Stampede’s record to 3-0 in overtime and secure the championship.

“This victory was a testament to the physical shape that the Stampede earned through their rigorous training,” Baxter said. “When the games got longer, the team kept running and hustling as the other teams wilted.

“I’m so proud of this club for their dedication and hard work.”

The Stampede downed the Petaluma River Cats Black team 6-4 in the semifinals. Harris recorded the last three goals of the game to propel the team into the finals.

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To contact Sports Writer Ross Maak, e-mail rossm@theunion.com or call 477-4244.


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