Nic Ellingboe had a couple options.
There was a teammate open to his left. He had several other teammates hustling to lend support.
But Ellingboe chose Option C — take care of business on his own.
The Lakers’ slippery forward snaked his way through a handful of East Grand Rapids defenders and fired a shot past keeper Matt Olgren, scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal in Tuesday’s 4-1 Division 2 regional victory over East Grand Rapids.
Stretches of the game were played in near-whiteout conditions as driving hail fell on a chilly Spring Lake Middle School field.
With the win, the Lakers advance to Thursday’s regional championship game against Forest Hills Northern — a 3-1 winner over No. 1-ranked Holland in Tuesday’s second regional semifinal.
“I think I was a little frustrated earlier on because I wasn’t finishing as well as I could have,” said Ellingboe, who scored three goals on the night. “So I just put my head through it and shot it.
“It’s pretty awesome, because I haven’t had a game like this all season where I got out there and dominated at that position. We played really well as a team. It wasn’t just me. We played well on defense. That was the big thing.”
Lakers’ goalie Joe Czajka made several clutch diving stops, including a one-handed stab to knock away a shot headed for the upper-left corner of the goal. He then received a little help from the crossbar as the Pioneers fired a rebound that hit the bar and bounced away.
Spring Lake now turns its focus to Thursday’s opponent, Forest Hills Northern. The Huskies defated the Lakers 4-2 back on Aug. 29. That was the fifth game of the season for Spring Lake.
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