PEABODY — A pair of fourth-quarter goals wasn’t enough to get the Peabody boys lacrosse team back on track after a slow start in a 6-5 loss to Ispwich Tuesday afternoon at Coley Lee Field.
First-year Peabody coach Leo Shidler thought his Tanners took Ipswich too lightly.
“We felt good coming off the Acton-Boxborough game,” Shidler said. “We had a light week of practice and the focus wasn’t really there. It showed today. But give Ipswich all the credit in the world. Their goalie was fantastic. We came in soft and we got what we deserved.”
Jack Houlden led the way Peabody’s attack with three goals. Trevor Smith and Connor McCarron each scored one goal.
Overall Peabody struggled with creating chances.
“We have to finish,” Shidler said. “Especially, early on in the game if we had finished our chances this wouldn’t have been the result.
“Ipswich had us figured out offensively,” Shidler said. “The defense they were running was great. We like to run our offense through the attack. They came in and had that figured out. It took us a little bit to adjust and when we finally did we had a hard time passing and catching.”
Peabody goalkeeper Austin Leggett had seven saves and kept the Tanners in the game.
“Defensively, all around, we did great,” Shidler said. “Austin’s always big for us. He’s a gamer. There isn’t a bad thing to say about him. He played great.”
Both goalkeepers had a great start with four saves each before Ipswich got on the board eight minutes in. Ipswich attackman Ben Yanakakis ran by a Peabody defender and ripped a shot that found the back of the net to put the Tigers ahead 1-0.
Pat Russo won a faceoff to start the second quarter for Peabody but a quick turnover put Ipswich back on offense. Justin Bruhm scored a few minutes later to stretch the Tigers lead to 2-0.
The Tanners couldn’t capitalize on a few Ipswich penalties late in the second quarter but the offensive opportunities helped Peabody build momentum. With just over five minutes remaining in the half McCarron had a nice assist on a goal from Houlden to cut the Ipswich lead to 2-1.
But the Tigers got back on the board before halftime with another goal from Bruhm to go ahead 3-1 at recess.
Peabody looked like a new team to begin the second half. Russo won two faceoffs to start the third quarter and the Tanners capitalized on both possessions. Houlden ripped a shot from the top of the box that found the back of the net and Smith broke to the front of the net and added another goal to tie the game at 3-3.
The Tigers responded with back-to-back goals of their own to finish the third quarter. Bruhm added an assist on a goal by Lucas Kubaska and Izzy Morrissey scored to put Ipswich back ahead 5-3.
A penalty to start the fourth quarter proved costly for the Tanners. The Tigers capitalized on the man advantage with Ethan Jean-Charles’ goal to stretch their lead to 6-3.
But the Tanners refused to quit. McCarron fought through a pair of Ipswich defenders to cut the Tigers lead to 6-4 with 8:51 remaining. Just over a minute later Houlden added another goal on a man-up opportunity to make it a one goal game at 6-5.
Ipswich did a solid job eating up the clock during a pair of possessions late in the game. With just 31 seconds remaining Peabody forced a turnover and called a timeout to draw up one final play but the Tanners couldn’t get anything going in the final seconds.
The Tanners (2-2) will hope to rebound when they host Northeastern Conference opponent Danvers Thursday (4).
“We can’t wait,” Shidler said of the Tanners’ first conference game. “It’s going to be interesting. We’re hoping to get some film on them this week and see what it is they do.”