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District 1 Boys Lacrosse: Gougler is the X factor as Springfield dominates Conestoga

Springfield players celebrate (2) Tyler Gougler second half goal in District 1 3A playoffs at Springfield Tuesday evening. Gougler had 6 goals and an assist in the victory. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

SPRINGFIELD — It never crossed Tyler Gougler’s mind that he should be the one to spark Springfield’s offense late in the first quarter Tuesday night.

But he happened to be the player with the hottest stick, the player the other team couldn’t stop from scoring.

Gougler’s first goal in the final seconds of the first period was a sign of great things to come from the junior attackman. He produced six goals and an assist as the No. 2 Cougars overcame an early two-goal deficit against 10th-seeded Conestoga, rolling to a 10-4 victory in the quarterfinal round of the District 1 Class 3A tournament.

The Cougars will host No. 6 Wissahickon, a 10-9 winner over No. 3 Pennridge, in the semifinals Thursday at 7.

Gougler’s signature move came through X, with the Pioneers having no answers for defending his behind-the-cage exploits.

“Me and Patrick Flaherty, we used to go in our backyards doing that same move,” Gougler said. “We were always practicing it.”

Springfield’s (6) Aidan Kreydt scores in the second half of District1 3A playoffs at Springfield Tuesday evening. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

Gougler scored his second goal with 12 seconds to go in the second period to put Springfield in front, 4-3. The Cougars would dominate the rest of the way.

Brady Eaton made it 1-0 early on, and Drew Meschel tallied to give the Pioneers a 2-0 cushion with 1:14 left in the first. The Cougars had a bevy of clean looks, but Conestoga goalie Mikey Johnson thwarted every last one, making five saves.

Lucas Aaron manhandled Conestoga on faceoffs, winning 17 of 18 draws. Eventually those wins translated to goals. The Cougars set the tempo and ran through their offense, Gougler and Flaherty cutting and crashing. Sean Donaldson, Jimmy Kennedy and Aidan Kreydt backed Gougler with a goal and an assist each, while Flaherty had an assist.

Springfield was fantastic at creating turnovers. Sophomores Billy Henderson and Brian Delaney created havoc in the back and on the ground.

“As we communicated more, doing a better job, it really helped our team,” Henderson said. “And I also thought our 1v1 defense was really good. Anytime we needed a slide, we had a slide.”

After halftime, the Cougars (17-2) ran away from the Pioneers. Gougler had the Cougars’ first two goals in the third. Kreydt scored to make it a 7-3 with 14 seconds to go. Conestoga failed to establish any sort of rhythm on attack against the brick wall that is Springfield’s relentless defense.

Springfield’s (2) Tyler Gougler fires a shot on Conestoga goalie Mikey Johnson in the first half of District 1 3A playoffs at Springfield Tuesday evening. Gougler had 6 goals and an assist in the victory. (PETE BANNAN-DAILY TIMES)

Gougler scored his fifth and sixth goals in the fourth quarter and assisted on Jimmy Kennedy’s in the fourthG.

“I really thought we were getting good looks all night and I thought their goalie was really, really good,” Springfield coach Tom Lemieux said. “I think we did a really good job of not getting frustrated and staying the course. Anybody who plays us knows our style of lacrosse. We were really patient and worked really good shots and not just ‘OK’ shots. Getting the ball off the ground, I felt we did a really good job and just all-around I thought we did really, really well tonight.”



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