April 6, 2013

No. 19 Lehigh Pulls Away Late to Beat Colgate

from staff reports

Patrick Corbett (42) scored four goals on Saturday as Lehigh beat visiting Colgate to clinch a spot in the Patriot League tournament.
© Kevin P. Tucker

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — In a heated rematch of last season's Patriot League championship game, No. 19 Lehigh and visiting Colgate combined for 23 goals and 20 penalties, but it was the Mountain Hawks who came up big when it mattered most.

Lehigh broke an 8-8 tie after three quarters, outscoring Colgate 5-2 in the fourth for a big 13-10 win on Saturday in Goodman Stadium.

The victory sets up a big showdown at Bucknell next Friday with the winner clinching the Patriot League Regular Season Title and No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.

"I thought it was an absolute battle," said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. "Both teams played hard. Our guys really answered when we went down. They stepped up and found an extra gear, an extra level, late in the second quarter and into the third. I'm really proud of the way they finished today.

"We talked about it all week. Colgate prides itself on being a third-quarter team. We do too. I was proud of the way our guys played in the second half. They did enough to win and made the plays that needed to be made."

Saturday's win clinches Lehigh's third straight Patriot League tournament appearance. The Mountain Hawks now shift their attention to next Friday and with a win, would host the league tournament for the first time in school history.

Senior Dante Fantoni tied a career high with six points behind three goals and a career-high tying three assists. In the process, he eclipsed 100 career goals, currently standing at 101. Classmate David DiMaria also reached a milestone, surpassing 100 career assists with his one-goal, four-assist effort. Sophomore Patrick Corbett set a career high with four goals, Dan Taylor added three points (one goal, two assists), senior Kyle Stiefel scored two man-up goals and Brian Hess dished two assists.

"Our seniors stepped up," said Cassese. "I'm really proud of David DiMaria, Dante Fantoni, Mike Noone... those guys in particular played really special today. You need your seniors to step up when it comes down to big games in the league. I was really proud of the fact that our guys did that today."

Lehigh finished 6-of-8 on the extra man, a team and Patriot League high for man-up goals this season.

Senior Mike Noone helped spearhead the defense, posting three groundballs and three caused turnovers. Classmate Baxter Lanius had two groundballs and two caused turnovers while Ryan Snyder won 13-of-25 faceoffs while scooping eight groundballs and giving Lehigh a significant edge in time of possession.

"Over the first three quarters, I thought Ryan was the difference in the game," said Cassese. "It allowed us to get some extra possessions early in the game. Maybe that leads to the Colgate defense getting tired in the fourth quarter, taking some fouls down the stretch and allowing us to secure the win."

Sophomore goalie Matt Poillon finished with 15 saves, one shy of his career high, with nine coming in the second half.

Lehigh got off to a quick start, taking leads of 2-0 and 3-1 following Fantoni's first of the game. The extra man-goal, assisted by Taylor, made it 3-1 at 4:54 of the first quarter. Colgate responded with the next two, but Taylor finished off a nifty behind-the-back goal, beating Raiders' goalie Conor Murphy with just one second left in the first quarter to make it 4-3.

The Raiders went on a 3-0 run to take a 6-4 lead after Peter Baum's second goal in a 3:06 span. However, Lehigh ended the half on a 3-0 run of its own, beginning with Corbett's second of the game at 10:55 and ending with his third with 4:41 remaining.

The sides traded goals to begin the second half. Colgate scored two of the three third-quarter goals to even the score at eight, but DiMaria single-handedly gave Lehigh the 9-8 lead at 12:37 of the fourth. After a Cody Ferraro shot was saved, DiMaria picked off a Murphy pass behind the goal and came around and found the empty net.

Jimmy Ryan answered just 21 seconds later, but the Mountain Hawks again had an answer. Hess found Corbett for his fourth of the game at 9:37 to make it 10-9. The Raiders were called for an unnecessary roughness penalty after the play and Lehigh made them pay. Stiefel added his second just 41 seconds later for an 11-9 lead then the Mountain Hawks used the transition game to take a three-goal advantage. Senior Mike Noone started the play by causing a turnover on the defensive end, which finished with Fantoni scoring his third of the game (from DiMaria) to make it 12-9.

Baum scored his fourth at 5:01, but sophomore Kurtis Kaunas iced it with 44 seconds remaining for the 13-10 final.

Baum scored four goals, but it came on 15 shots and 10 shots on goal. The reigning Tewaaraton Award winner had 15 of Colgate's 34 shots. Lehigh finished with a 36-34 edge in shots and 31-25 in groundballs. The Raiders were 1-for-7 on the extra man to Lehigh's 6-of-8. Poillon's 15 saves came across Murphy who made 10. Each team had 12 turnovers.

Lehigh will now head to Bucknell for a big matchup against the Bison at 7:30 p.m. Friday.


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