Weston Christensen had only scored eight goals all season before his Green Canyon Wolves entered the 4A title game Friday against rival Sky View.
But as the game reached overtime following an 8-8 tie at the end of regulation, Christensen saw his opening and never looked back.
“I noticed as I took it down (the field) throughout the game, they were a little bit slow to slide,” the junior defenseman said, “so I realized (in overtime) I should just draw a guy and go in and try to score — and it happened.”
When the shot from Christensen drilled the back of Sky View’s net, it was only a matter of milliseconds before the helmets and the sticks of Wolves players went airborne in celebration.
The golden goal gave Green Canyon the 9-8 victory over the Bobcats — a team that they had lost to twice in the regular season — to claim the school’s first state title at Zions Bank Stadium.
Christensen said that his team thought they should’ve won both of the regular season matchups against Sky View, so they were eager to look for the opportunity to get the last laugh in the championship showdown.
“(The matchup with Sky View) is what we wanted, honestly,” Christensen said. “We knew the next time we would see them was probably going to be in the championship game…We came out and played our game.
“The other games we kind of crumbled, but this time I think we just knew it was the state championship and we had to give it our all, and we did.”
The Wolves held Sky View, the top scoring team in 4A by 53 goals, to just two goals in the second half Friday after giving up six in the opening half of play.
Helping Green Canyon’s defensive cause was the performance of goalkeeper Peyton Johnson, who notched 14 saves in the game, eight of which came in the second half.
Though it was Christensen whom everybody was swarming to at the end of the game, he said that “(Johnson) is the one who deserved the real credit” for getting the Wolves out on top.
Trailing 6-5 with 50 seconds remaining in the first half, Green Canyon looked like it was going to
be heading into the halftime break with a one goal deficit, but JD McKenna slung a pass from behind goal toward the stick of Brandon Mueller, who received the ball and fired off a quick shot.
The shot found the back of the net with no time left on the first half clock, pulling the Wolves level and giving them a lion’s share of the momentum heading to the break.
Johnson said the play definitely had an impact on the way the Wolves felt going into the second half.
“Coming in at half with confidence was crazy (important) for us,” Johnson said. “That’s all we had coming into the second half…You’ve got to have confidence in these games, knowing that you can make the play that decides (the game), not the one that makes you lose.
“We had that mindset and we pulled it out.”
Trailing for a majority of the game, Green Canyon took its first lead with 8:07 to play in the third quarter and never trailed from that point on.
Green Canyon head coach Troy Oldham praised the way his players studied film heading into the game, saying that it’s what gave them the edge.
Both teams had raucous crowds make the trip down from Cache County, but it was the Wolves’ crowd that made the game’s loudest roar as Christensen’s shot bulged the net.
Oldham said he and his team were proud to bring home the school’s first boys lacrosse championship trophy.
“It means everything,” Oldham said. “Our principal (Dave Swenson) has been supportive from the very day we stepped on the field.
“When we won, I went over to him and said, ‘OK, there’s a championship for ya.’”