YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- On the outside, James Pannell was reveling and rejoicing. On the inside, all he felt was relief.
The junior scored a season-high five goals, including the winner with 1:19 left, for Smithtown West in its 9-8 decision over Yorktown Saturday in a non-league boys lacrosse game in Westchester.
After his goal, a one-timer from Kyle Keenan, Pannell lifted his head high and waved his arms and stick triumphantly as if he were trying to send his good vibes all the way back to the Island. Inside, the weight was finally lifted.
"I was very enthused, but also very relieved," Pannell said. "We were down most of the game, but after that I knew we were going to get it done."
Ryan Adler made his eighth and final save with 12.5 seconds left to give Smithtown West (6-2) its third straight win.
The Bulls took their first lead at 7-6 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter on Keenan's third goal, a bounce shot off a sweet dodge. It capped a five-goal run in 8:12 of the third, during which Keenan scored all three of his goals. Matt Schultz also scored during the run, his team-leading 25th of the season.
Ty Schuldt tied it at 7 for Yorktown (5-3) nine seconds into the fourth. Then Pannell stamped his imprint on the Huskers' turf field, which needed to be squeegeed and machine blown before the game to get rid of the puddles from the morning storm.
His low, hard shot under the goalie's stick gave Smithtown West an 8-7 lead with 10:37 to play, but his one-minute cross-check penalty led directly to the equalizer, Schuldt's fifth of the game on a sidearm rip with 7:01 to go. Pannell atoned by coming off a screen on a play called "Dartmouth" and beating the Yorktown goalie stick-side high for the winner.
"It's a huge confidence builder to be able to beat one of the best teams in the state, maybe in the country," Pannell said of a Yorktown team that has advanced to the state semifinals in three of the last four seasons.
The Huskers proved their mettle by scoring the last two goals of the first half and the first two of the second to take a 6-2 lead with 9:16 left in the third. Said Smithtown West coach Sean Keenan: "We left our game on the bus in the first half."
Yorktown also took advantage of the Bulls' three penalties, scoring on each man-up opportunity. Conversely, Smithtown West was 0-for-5 on man-ups. "We were kind of stinky on the man-up," Keenan said.
But the Bulls came out smelling like roses, thanks in no small part to faceoff man Craig Madarasz, who won 13 of 19 draws. "Faceoffs are the biggest part of the game," Pannell said. "Possession is key."