April 7, 2012

Two Goals in Final 21 Seconds Set Up St. John's OT Win

from press release

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a matter of moments the mood on the St. John's (6-4, 2-2) sideline went from heartbreak to euphoria as two Red Storm goals in the final minute of regulation to set up an overtime 13-12 victory over No. 20 Georgetown (5-5, 1-2).

A team that's suffered through the frustration of numerous close call upsets, the Red Storm flipped the script in dramatic fashion against the Hoyas. Trailing 12-10 with only 42 seconds remaining, St. John's took a timeout to set up the final push. Things went according to plan from there, as Ryan Fitzgerald promptly connected on a tough shot from the right side with 21 seconds left. Despite struggling throughout the second half, Jordan Rothman was able to grind out a win on the next faceoff which eventually led to senior Harry Kutner fighting through a hold and converting a left-handed shot to tie the score at 12 with only seven seconds remaining. The regulation drama wasn't quite over as goalie Jeff Lowman turned away two point blank shots by Georgetown after the ensuing faceoff.

Rothman would win the opening faceoff in overtime and Kevin Cernuto almost ended things immediately but his effort went just wide of the netting. After a timeout, Fitzgerald attacked a short pole with a pretty spin move that freed the sophomore up in front of goal for the game winner. Fitzgerald's two timely goals brought the midfielder to nine tallies in the last five games.

The victory was as monumental as it was exciting for St. John's as it claimed its first triumph over a ranked opponent since defeating then-No. 5 Georgetown on Feb. 27, 2009. The Red Storm players also left the field carrying the distinction as the only team in program history to win at Georgetown. It was also the first overtime victory for the Red Storm since an 8-7 victory against Vermont on March 20, 2010. The season's sixth victory also gives head coach Jason Miller his highest season total and the most Red Storm wins in one year since the program's reinstatement.

St. John's is starting to make last minute comebacks a bit of a habit as the Red Storm topped Rutgers 7-6 thanks to a pair of late-game goals on March 17. In that game St. John's needed just a bit more time as it scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in an 18 second span.

Kieran McArdle finished the game with a team-high six points on two goals and four assists. It is the fourth time this season the sophomore has recorded at least five points in a game. Kutner finished with three goals and an assist and Cernuto scored on two unassisted efforts. Lowman had a season-high 17 saves. Defenseman Harrison Freid had arguably his best performance as a Johnnie with four groundballs and two caused turnovers.

The first quarter of the game was a stalemate until the final twenty seconds due to sloppy play by both sides and six saves by Lowman. Colin Keegan gave St. John's the first lead of the game as he converted a man-up opportunity off a feed from McArdle at the end of the first quarter.

Heading into the second quarter leading 1-0, Cernuto scored coming from behind the right side of the cage to move the lead to 2-0. Georgetown got its first goal of the game with 8:29 left in the half to bring the score to 2-1. Kutner would cash in on the second man-up opportunity of the game as he found the back of the net from the right side off another assist from McArdle. The Hoyas answered with another goal but McArdle responded with a nice dodge toward the front of the crease and beat the goalie down low to put St. John's up 4-2. The team's traded goals again as Brian Casey scored through a tight window for Georgetown followed by Kutner and McArdle running the two-man game to perfection as McArdle dropped one off for a quick lefty strike by Kutner that gave St. John's a 5-3 lead heading into the half.

Early in the third quarter, the Red Storm was on the man-up for the third time and Terence Leach got an easy goal when McArdle found him open right in front of net. The goal increased Leach's team lead in goals (18) and extra-man goals (9). Keegan would make an opportunity from the top of the zone count as he found the back of the net for the second time on the afternoon to push the lead to 7-3. In a game of runs, Georgetown would make the biggest, taking control with six-straight scores to finish the third quarter up 9-7.

St. John's regrouped and responded following the intermission with a couple of tough goals to tie things up at nine. Cernuto scored first on a run from behind the cage which gave the sophomore his 16th goal of the season. Then Alex Lagodich followed by beating his man off the run and sending in a lefty bounce shot to level the score. The tie didn't last long as Georgetown would score off the very next faceoff to go back up 10-9. McArdle returned the favor with a run from behind net that set up a lefty shot and a 10-10 tie with 8:35 to play.

Another two-goal run by Georgetown seemed to put the game out of reach; but instead, set the Red Storm up for its late game heroics. The Hoyas were able to kill off a penalty with 57 seconds left to play and had the victory in their hands before Joe Addona came up with a caused turnover and groundball to put the offense in position to execute.

The win allows St. John's to control its own destiny the rest of the way. One more victory against either Villanova and Providence and the Red Storm will have clinched a spot in the inaugural BIG EAST Lacrosse Tournament and the right to play some May lacrosse.


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