March 3, 2012

Bucknell Beats Navy in Patriot League Opener

from press release

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Billy Eisenreich had a seven-point game with two goals and five assists and Chase Bailey recorded a hat trick to help the Bucknell men's lacrosse team open up Patriot League play with a 14-9 win at Navy on Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. The victory was Bucknell's ninth straight against league foes dating back to last season, and the Bison have grabbed the early lead in the 2012 conference chase.

Peter Burke added two goals and two assists, and Nick Gantsoudes also scored twice for the Bison, who had suffered three straight close losses to nationally ranked teams before breaking out in a big way against the Midshipmen. Bucknell defeated Navy for the fifth time in 12 all-time meetings, and this was its first series win by more than one goal. Saturday's result ended a string of five straight one-goal games between the two teams.

Tucker Hull tallied three goals and two assists for the Midshipmen (1-3), who were coming off a tough 9-8 loss to fourth-ranked North Carolina last week. Navy won 19 of the 27 faceoffs, but the Bison stood tall defensively, forcing the Mids into 25 turnovers while committing only 14 of their own.

Bucknell led 8-4 at the half after a strong finish to the second quarter, saw Navy storm back with three goals early in the third quarter, then dominated from there.

Bailey put the Bison on the scoreboard first with a one-timer off a high feed from Burke at the 9:59 mark of the opening period. The two teams alternated goals until Bucknell put in two in a row later in the quarter. First it was Eisenreich with a terrific skip pass out of a double team to a wide open Gantsoudes on the back side. Just 1:26 after the Gantsoudes goal, Billy Mattimore scored his first of the year with a lefthanded shot just under the crossbar from about 20 yards out.

Sam Jones got one back for Navy with 1:15 left in the period, and then just 14 seconds into the second quarter Hull tied it at 4-4. But the Bison dominated the final 13 minutes of the half. Eisenreich started the four-goal run with a tricky shot from goal-line extended just to the right of Navy goalie RJ Wickham.

Bailey and Burke followed with goals to make it 7-4, and then following a timeout, Bucknell ran a set play with Eisenreich feeding David Dickson in the slot for an 8-4 lead with just 0:09 left in the half.

Navy stormed out of the locker room with three goals in just 45 seconds, with Nikk Davis' tally reducing Bucknell's lead to 8-7 just 1:58 into the half. But the Bison again had a response, scoring four straight times to go up 12-7 after three periods.

Bucknell's run started after Navy took a slashing penalty, and Eisenreich found Burke on the left wing for a critical momentum-shifting goal. Freshman Joe Kearney followed just over a minute later with a shot on the run to make it 10-7, and then in quick succession it was Bailey and Todd Heritage to make it four goals in a span of 4:13.

The Bison moved the ball around and burned some clock early in the fourth quarter, but Dickson retaliated for a push in the back and took a non-releasable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with 8:35 left in the game. Navy scored twice on that penalty, with Erik Hoffstadt and Bryce Dabbs finding the net 26 seconds apart. Just after Navy crept within 12-9, the Bison were flagged again, but this time they killed off the 60-second penalty. Then with 5:26 left Eisenreich made a slick backdoor pass to a cutting Gantsoudes for a 13-9 lead.

A big save from Kyle Feeney and a nice takeaway by defenseman Mike Huffner helped the Bison get the ball back near the three-minute mark. Navy desperately tried to get the ball back but was flagged for seven penalties in the process. With only three defenders on the field, Eisenreich finished the scoring with an empty-netter in the final minute to give Bucknell its highest scoring total in 12 all-time meetings with the Midshipmen.

Bucknell outshot Navy 35-27, but the Mids led 37-21 in ground balls. Feeney finished with eight saves for the Bison, while Navy's Wickham had seven.

Bucknell is back in action next Saturday at home against Hobart in a non-conference game. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.


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