Bryant Wins 2OT Thriller Over Robert Morris
from press release
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior Matt Larson
(Cheshire, Conn.) scored with 48 seconds left in regulation to knot
the score at 14-14 and force overtime Saturday afternoon, but it
would be the third tally of the day from linemate Gary Crowley
(Scituate, Mass.) in double overtime that put the Bulldogs on top
for good, as the Bryant University men’s lacrosse team earned
a 15-14 double-overtime victory over Northeast Conference foe
Robert Morris on the road in Moon Township, Pa.
A team that has struggled to put up big offensive numbers all year, the Bulldogs (7-4) were led by the long-awaited outbreak of their first midfield line in Larson, Crowley and sophomore Max Weisenberg (Long Beach, N.Y.), a trio that posted a 10-tally, 13-point day to pace Bryant’s season-best 15-goal performance. Weisenberg would score a game-high five goals on six shots in the affair.
“Our first midfield went 10-for-20 shooting,” said head coach Mike Pressler. “We’ve been struggling all year long in the area of shooting and for them to really break out made it an exciting day for us.”
The contest – the first-ever between the new conference rivals – featured 10 ties and four lead changes, but none more important than the completion of Crowley’s first hat trick of the season 2:29 into the second overtime, the unassisted game winner that sent the Bulldog side into a frenzy and handed Robert Morris (8-3) its third loss of 2010.
“We had the ball almost the entire first overtime with some great chances,” said Pressler. Both teams were scoreless in the initial extra frame. “And then we had a little redemption there in the second overtime.
“We threw it away the first time down – and that turnover was actually on Gary [Crowley],” he explained. “And then we go and get a big stop defensively and Gary comes down the field and lets go a 13-yarder. It was a great shot, it had a lot of juice on it, and then there was a big celebration. It’s just an exciting day and a great moment for Bryant lacrosse here in the 2010 season.”
But Crowley wouldn’t have had the chance to be the hero were it not for his linemate. Despite taking a two-goal lead into halftime, the Colonials came out firing in the third frame, outscoring the Bulldogs, 6-3, to take a one-goal, 11-10 edge into the final quarter. And while Bryant would tie the game four times in the final 15 minutes alone, the visitors would never regain the lead in regulation. In fact, the Bulldogs found themselves down, 14-13, as the clock ticked under a minute.
Larson would remedy that situation, notching the 10th tying goal of the outing with just 48 ticks left in the game off a feed from the eventual game hero.
“We were kind of running around there, and Matt made a play,” said Pressler. “He made a great, great shot on the run and that tied the game. But we were up two at halftime and into the third, and we let the game get away from us. Robert Morris was on their game – they’ve been doing this offensively, putting up these big numbers, to a lot of teams this season.”
But goals were not the game’s only storyline.
Rookie Peter McMahon (Wilton, Conn.) put forth his best performance to date for the Black and Gold, scoring a career-best four goals while adding an assist. He scored back-to-back tallies in the second frame, the first of which broke a 4-4 tie, and his final score knotted the game at 13-13 with 5:12 left in the fourth. He also assisted on the first goal of the game to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 advantage. All four of the freshman’s tallies came unassisted.
“Peter McMahon, our outstanding freshman recruit, had his best day yet,” Pressler said. “And while Max had five goals, I’m not surprised about that. All of our attackmen had a great game, but I think it was McMahon who really broke out and was really the most impressive today.”
There was also the return of one of the nation’s top faceoff specialists in senior captain Andrew Hennessey (Wading River, N.Y.), a return that was facilitated by a more unfortunate event in an injury to junior Evan Roberts (West Cornwall, Vt.), who had taken over duties at the X since Hennessey was first sidelined in early March.
“We expected Hennessey to faceoff some today, but when Evan got hurt, he was forced to go out more often than we hoped,” said Pressler. “But we inserted Hennessey into the game and he went 9-for-10 from the X – and he hasn’t played in over a month. He was quite remarkable, but that’s not surprising. Number 40 is really good, especially when you need him most.”
Hennessey’s 9-of-10 performance led Bryant to a 21-of-33 faceoff margin on the day after Roberts was strong early, winning 10 of his 19 faceoffs.
Neither team trailed by more than three at any point in the contest, with Bryant’s largest lead coming after a Larson man-up goal with 3:26 to play in the second period, 7-4. The Colonials’ biggest lead of the day came early on, 3-1, in the opening frame.
Crowley added a pair of helpers to his hat trick for a five-point day, while Larson added an assist of his own with two goals scored. Sophomore attacker Travis Harrington (Vestal, N.Y.) chipped in a goal to knot the game at 12-12 with 8:09 to go and recorded an assist as well, while freshman JK Poirier (Coatesville, Pa.) registered a three-assist day, including the helper on a go-ahead score and a pair of game-tiers. Weisenberg’s five tallies knotted Robert Morris’s Corbyn Tao-Brambleby as a contest best. The Colonials saw goals from nine different sources in the double-overtime affair.
“This week, without question, was the toughest week of our entire season,” said Pressler. “We played three tough road games, and the final one was 10 hours from home. We thought if our guys could reach up and get this one, it would be a great credit to our team, and they did just that.
“To win a 15-14 shootout is certainly not our style,” he continued. “But our goal was to get to 15 [goals], and it took two overtimes to get it, but we got it. It was an unbelievable game.”
The Bulldogs outshot the home side, 41-35, on the day and 5-3 in the two overtime periods, also winning the ground ball battle, 40-28. Bryant went 12-for-16 on clearing attempts and 2-of-5 on extra-man opportunities, and the Black and Gold limited their turnovers to just 14 in over 66 minutes of action.
Sophomore Jameson Love (Darien, Conn.) made seven saves between the pipes and saw 21 shots on goal on the afternoon, while a pair of RMU goalies in Charles Ruppert and Dillon Pope combined for nine stops, collecting three and six, respectively.
“For us to have won this game on offense was just a great great sigh of relief. It’s something we haven’t done all year,” said Pressler. “Now, we have to maintain this momentum and get back to playing Bryant defense to keep opponents’ scoring low like we are used to.”
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