Old School Edges Young Guns in Shootout, 18-17

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Another year, another nail-biter in the Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game.

Led by midfielder Stephen Berger of the Charlotte Hounds, the Old School All-Stars rallied to earn an 18-17 victory over the Young Guns All-Stars in the 2012 Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game presented by Moe's Southwest Grill at FAU Stadium on Saturday evening.

It marked the fourth straight year that the All-Star Game was decided by a single point. In addition, it is the third time in three All-Star Game match-ups that the Young Guns and Old School All-Stars played in a one-point affair.

The fans at FAU Stadium knew it was going to be a high-scoring and fast paced affair in the opening seven seconds of the game when midfielder Chris Eck won the opening face-off and scored to give the Old School All-Stars a 1-0 lead. From there, the Old School All-Stars added three of the next four goals to take a 4-2 lead with 9:57 left in the opening stanza.

But, back-to-back markers from midfielder Peet Poillon and attackman Drew Westervelt tied the game for the Young Gun All-Stars before midfielder Casey Powell regained a one-point edge by scoring an unassisted with 1:28 remaining.

After Berger and midfielder Paul Rabil extended the Old School advantage to 7-4 in the opening minutes of the second quarter, the Young Gun All-Stars rallied with three straight goals, including a goal and an assist from attackman Jeremy Sieverts, to even the score at 7-7 with 8:05 left in the first half.

The teams exchanged twice to end the first half with the score tied at 9-9.

Just like they ended the first half, the teams traded goals three separate times, including a two-point marker from Rabil, to open the second half before Westervelt and midfielder Kevin Buchanan scored consecutive goals to give the Old School All-Stars a 15-12 edge. With 42 seconds left in the frame, Sieverts converted a pass from defenseman Brian Karalunas to close within 15-13.

With 8:11 remaining in the fourth quarter, attackman Max Seibald tied the game for the Young Gun All-Stars when he fired a two-point goal off an assist from Sieverts, a former teammate when Seibald played in Denver. But, the Old School All-Stars battled back to take a 17-15 lead with back-to-back goals from midfielder Steven Brooks and attackman Chazz Woodson.

However, the Young Gun All-Stars answered right back with a two-point goal from defenseman Brian Farrell with 3:42 remaining to even the score at 17-17.

But, with just 56 seconds remaining, Brooks provided the heroics when he scored an unassisted goal to give the Old School All-Stars an 18-17 lead they did not relinquish.

While Berger scored three goals to lead the Old School All-Stars and earn the Bud Light MLL Player of the Game honors, Brooks added both of his goals in the fourth quarter while Rabil scored twice, including a two-point marker.

Sieverts led the Young Gun All-Stars in a losing effort with two goals, including a two-point marker, with two assists. Meanwhile, Farrell and Seibald each added two goals, including a two-point marker, each.

The Old School All-Stars held a commanding 57-44 advantage in shots and won 18 of 35 face-offs.

During the Bud Light Skills Competition, Ohio Machine defenseman Kyle Hartzell successfully defended his Fastest Shot title by recording a speed of 111 miles per hour while Rochester Rattlers defenseman Joel White earned the Gauntlet championship. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Brett Queener of the Hamilton Nationals won the Freestyle event.
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