Palseky Preserves Army Perfection vs. Lafayette
from press release
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Senior goalkeeper Tom
Palesky made six of his 11 saves in the final quarter and junior
midfielder Devin Lynch netted the game-winning goal with two
minutes to play, keying No. 8/9 Army in a 7-6 win over visiting
Lafayette on Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium.
A back-and-forth affair all afternoon, Army (7-2, 2-0 Patriot League) edged Lafayette (2-6, 0-3) by one goal for the third-straight meeting. The Black Knights won for the ninth time in a row at Michie Stadium, dating back to the 2010 season, and extended their current win streak to six games.
Sophomore attackman Garrett Thul scored the second of his team-high two goals to break a 5-5 tie with 5:50 to play. Lynch gave the Black Knights a 7-5 cushion with his unassisted score at the 2:06 mark, which Army needed as the Leopards' Colin Serling scored off a Cesar Munoz win on the ensuing faceoff. Lafayette won the next faceoff, but Army junior defenseman Larry LoRusso came up with a key caused turnover with a minute to play, which allowed the Black Knights to run out the clock.
"It was a huge win for us," said head coach Joe Alberici. "I give a lot of credit to Lafayette. They played their tails off today and battled the entire game. It's about playing great defense and that's what we did today. Lafayette played a very deliberate offense and had a great day in the faceoff 'x,' really limiting our possessions. I never lost confidence in our guys because we were playing great defense and Tom Palesky was spectacular in the fourth quarter."
Nine of Palesky's 11 saves came in the second half and included a handful at point-blank range. The Plano, Texas, native played all 60 minutes and finished with a team-high five ground balls.
"I felt good today and was seeing the ball well," Palesky said. "I wanted to improve from Tuesday night's game (against Lehigh). Lafayette can really push the goal and make me go from pipe to pipe. It's something I worked on all week, and luckily today it paid off.
"This year's seniors have played in so many one-goal games throughout our career," Palesky added. "You just kind of get immune to the situation. You don't realize how close it is, you just play to win."
Defensive midfielders Brandon Butler and Tim Henderson added four ground balls apiece. Henderson netted his fourth goal of the season in the second quarter. Sophomore defenseman Drew Kearns made his first career start and led Army with three caused turnovers. Kearns marked Lafayette senior Tom Perini, who entered the game second in the league in points, and held him scoreless to help buoy the defense.
Senior attackman Jeremy Boltus paced Army with four points on a goal and three assists. Thul's two goals came on a team-high eight shots. He also finished with three ground balls. Lynch and Henderson joined junior midfielder Conor Hayes and senior midfielder Rob McCallion with single goals.
After the Leopards got on the board thanks to an Alex Floeck goal just 3:17 into the game, Army scored the next four unanswered to take a 4-1 lead with 4:41 left in the first half. Boltus found McCallion from close range to get Army on the board with its only man-up goal of the day (7:06). Rolling behind the cage, Boltus fed Thul for his first goal of the day with 2:52 to play in the opening quarter.
The teams proceeded to play through the first nine minutes of the second period without a goal before Boltus scored on the run with 6:01 to play. Lynch earned the assist, helping to give Army a 3-1 lead. The Black Knights got out in transition after a Kearns caused turnover, as Butler found Henderson downfield. Henderson ripped a shot from just inside the box to give Army a 4-1 lead with 4:41 to play in the first half. Lafayette inched within two (4-2) at the half with a goal at the 44-second mark.
The Leopards out-scored Army by a 2-1 margin in the third quarter and leveled the score at 5-5 with a goal at the 9:53 mark of the fourth quarter. Four minutes later, McCallion fed Thul from behind the net for a laser shot past Lafayette goalkeeper Andrijko Andrusko with 9:53 to play.
"All week we talked about going over the top of their goalie, but I found the space," Thul said. "I knew he couldn't see it, so I just went low to high and it worked out."
Lynch followed with Army's only unassisted goal of the day, dodging from the right side and lacing the ball past Andrusko with 2:06 to play.
"Hats off to the defense," Lynch said. "They made a tremendous stand and allowed us to get the ball back. I just came from behind inverted, like we were doing much of the game. Luckily, my guy was playing a little off and I took advantage of the situation."
Lafayette's final goal came at the 1:45 mark and the Black Knights rode its defense as time wore out.
Lafayette's Stefan Bauer paced the Leopards with four points on two goals and two assists. Andrusko tallied 10 saves in the net. Munoz took all 17 faceoffs and won 11 battles.
Army out-shot the Leopards by a 33-26 margin.
The Black Knights visit Colgate for their first Patriot League road test of the season next Saturday, April 2, at 1 p.m. Colgate picked up a 5-4 road win at Navy on Saturday, which improved the Raiders to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
Army improved to 30-0 all-time against Lafayette ... both teams assisted on all but one goal ... Army was 20-of-23 clearing the ball, while Lafayette was 15-of-18 ... Lafayette won the ground ball game by a slim 28-27 margin ... Tim Henderson scored a goal for the third-straight game ... Garrett Thul and Jeremy Boltus extended their point-scoring streaks to 18 games, dating back to 2010 ... Army improved to 4-0 at Michie Stadium this season ... 1,171 spectators took in the game.