By Greg Oshust
For the Forsyth County News
MARIETTA — Lambert used a couple of surges in the second and third quarters Friday to beat Lassiter 8-5 and advance to the Final Four of the Class 6A-7A playoffs.
The Longhorns erased an early 4-2 deficit in the second quarter with a 6-1 run of its own to clinch a spot in next week's semifinal showdown with Johns Creek, the top seed from Area 1.
Lassiter went on the offensive at the beginning of the game, relentlessly attacking the Lambert defense with six shots on goal before Ethan Cox scored with 7:42 remaining in the first quarter to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
Lambert began to pick up the pace and began to play more aggressive on offense and the Longhorns were rewarded with a goal by Will Mangold with 6:23 left in the first quarter to even the score at 1-all.
Lassiter regained the momentum and got four more shots on goal, but it was Lambert that got the next goal as Chris Harper scored with :58 seconds to go in the first quarter to put the Longhorns back in front 2-1.
The first half of the second quarter belonged to Lassiter, which started the period with three unanswered goals.
Braden Erksa scored with 10:32 remaining in the first half to tie the game at 2-all, then Andrew Atchison scored the next two goals at the 8:36 and 7:03 marks to give the Trojans a 4-2 advantage.
However, the rest of the quarter was dominated by Lambert as the Longhorns scored the next four goals in a row.
Cox scored with 6:28 remaining to cut Lambert's deficit to 4-3, then Gavin Starcher's goal with 2:32 left evened the score at 4-all, Evan Suh's score with 1:43 to go made it 5-4 and Danny Kesselring added a goal at the 17-second mark to give the Longhorns a 6-4 halftime lead.
Lambert scored the first two goals of the third quarter as Suh got a goal with 11:37 remaining and Kesselring followed up with a score with 11:17 left to increase the Longhorns' advantage to 8-4.
Lassiter managed to reduce the gap by the end of the quarter, as Cox's goal with 4:30 to go made it 8-5.
However, that’s as close as the Trojans would get as they battled Lambert to scoreless tie in the final period.
Lambert (19-1) has won 18 straight games and will try next week to reach its fifth straight state championship match.