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Friedman scores game winner in final seconds to lift River Hill boys lacrosse past Mt. Hebron

Video highlights of River Hill boys lacrosse's 10-9 victory against Mt. Hebron on Friday, March 29, 2019.

River Hill senior Max Friedman said he and fellow senior Josh Weingrad have been playing together their whole lives. There is an unspoken connection at times, especially when it’s just the two of them racing down the field on a fast break.

That chemistry was evident in the waning seconds of a tie game against visiting Mt. Hebron on Friday night. Hawks goalie Kevin Hickey made a one-on-one save and cleared to Weingrad, who raced down the right sideline and hurled a behind-the-back pass to Friedman in front of goal. Friedman briefly bobbled the ball, collected it and fired it over his left shoulder to score the game-winning goal with three seconds remaining to lift River Hill to a 10-9 victory.

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“I knew he’d do something crazy like that,” said Friedman, who finished with six goals. “Me and coach [Keith Gonsouland], we looked at each other and knew I had to make a play. That’s what I did.”

After Gavin Fleck scored on a turnover and fast break to put Mt. Hebron (0-2 county, 1-2 overall) ahead 9-7 with 2:54 to play, Friedman caught fire. He scored with 2:26 remaining to cut the deficit to one and again with 1:14 on the clock to knot the score at nine. His final goal ignited the River Hill sideline and gave the Hawks (2-1, 2-2) their first win over the Vikings since 2016.

Friedman had to watch from the sideline last year when Mt. Hebron beat them in a one-goal game because he tore his ACL late in the preseason and missed the entire season. The attackman had 19 goals as a sophomore; he now has 15 through the first four games this spring.

“I’ve known Max since he was in third or fourth grade and I’m just really happy for him,” Gonsouland said. “He’s put a lot of work in to get back on the field. My heart broke for him last year. ... I’m just really, really happy he’s back on the field and having success.”

In usual fashion whenever River Hill and Mt. Hebron meet, neither team led by more than two goals the entire game. The Hawks held a 2-0 lead after the first 12 minutes before the Vikings’ offense found its groove in the second quarter. Fleck and Mateo Brown, who had a hat trick, scored in the first 29 seconds of the frame, and after Weingrad’s goal helped River Hill regain the lead, three more Mt. Hebron goals made it 5-3. Friedman’s first tally with 2:05 left in the half got the Hawks within one at the break.

Friedman carried the momentum into the second half. Back-to-back goals put River Hill back in front, 6-5, but the Vikings tied the game in less than a minute when Aaron Krafft scored on the extra-man offense.

Tied at seven entering the final frame, Fleck scored on a fast break after a turnover at midfield and Krell added to the lead five minutes later. Friedman took over after that.

Fueling the Hawks comeback was junior Christian Bond, a long-pole defender who started taking faceoffs in the second quarter. He won four of six draws in the final 12 minutes.

“That’s our backup plan, our Plan B,” Gounsouland said. “[Mt. Hebron’s] Drew [Pitts] was a little quicker than Ben [Margolis] and we went to Plan B and that’s why we practice it. Christian has gotten off to a great start.”

After losing to Howard by two and to Mount Saint Joseph by three, Friedman and Gonsouland both said this type of win can spark their season.

“We’re a very talented team but sometimes we just can’t find a way to finish games,” Friedman said. “So showing that we can finish games as strong as this, I mean, it just shows we can keep doing it throughout the season.”

Said Gonsouland: “It’s a great win. We really needed it after coming off of a loss [to Howard] that we really felt like was one that got away from us.”

Mt. Hebron coach Mike McCarthy said his team battled hard and there were a number of inexperienced players who stepped up.

“We’re disappointed we lost the game but proud of the way our kids worked,” he said. “Some kids who weren’t expected to do so rose to the occasion and we were right there.”

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River Hill (2-1, 2-2) — 10, Mt. Hebron (0-2, 1-2) — 9

Goals: RH — Max Friedman 6, Josh Weingrad 2, Jack Burns 1, Tyler Hopkins 1; MH — Mateo Brown 3, Jake Krell 2, Gavin Fleck 2, Danny Herlihy 1, Aaron Krafft 1

Assists: RH — Weingrad 2, Burns 1; MH — Brown 2, Fleck 1

Saves: RH — Kevin Hickey 9; MH — Cody Stockenberg 8

Halftime: 5-4, Mt. Hebron

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