Matt Gibson, alone to the right side of an empty net, simply guided the ball in off a feed from Paul Rabil at 2 minutes, 46 seconds of sudden-victory overtime as the Lizards eliminated the Boston Cannons, 16-15, Saturday night in an MLL semifinal at Shuart Stadium.
The Lizards will face the Rochester Rattlers in Saturday's MLL title game in the Atlanta area.
Rabil, who scored twice, took the deciding possession shortly after Lizards goalie Drew Adams denied an overtime shot from 3 yards.
"Most every player in the world would shoot that," Lizards coach Joe Spallina said of Rabil's decision to pass from about 12 yards out. But he's always been about the team and makes that great pass down low."
Rabil came to the Lizards from Boston last offseason.
Gibson scored four goals, JoJo Marasco had a hat trick and Rob Pannell had two goals.
Cannons attack John Glesener buried a long shot with 22 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 15, capping a four-goal run by the Cannons, which included a two-pointer by Max Seibald.
The Lizards seemed to have broken open the game, scoring eight consecutive goals to take a 12-6 lead late in the third quarter. The Lizards led 15-10 when Steven Holmes (shorthanded) and Tommy Palasek scored midway through the fourth quarter.
The Cannons dominated possession and time on attack in a 3-0 first quarter and built a 5-1 lead early in the second.
Lizards attackers, particularly Rabil, were double- and triple-teamed but adjusted with more aggressiveness in the second and third quarters.
Adams made 20 saves, including clutch stops in OT.
"We're battle-tested now," Adams said. "Tonight was up and down . . . but to be able to have the perseverance to continue on and win in this fashion is unbelievable."