USAFA, Colo. - Christian Haggerty (West Nyack, N.Y.) and Todd Kaiser (Summit, N.J.) scored twice each as the Quinnipiac University men's lacrosse team defeated ECAC foe Air Force, 8-6, Friday afternoon at Cadet Lacrosse Field. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 5-3 (2-2 ECAC), while the Falcons fall to 1-8 (0-2 ECAC).
Alex Marotto (South Windsor, Conn.) scored a goal and added an assist, while Kevin Kelly (Redding, Conn.), Jack Oppenheimer (Conshohocken, Pa.) and Billy Alessi (Branford, Conn.) each scored once. Haggerty, Marotto, Mitch Cooper (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Mike Gast (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Bobby Schnibbe (Duxbury, Mass.) and Basil Kostaras (Southlake, Texas) each added assists for QU.
Bobcats goalie Kevin Benzing (Severna Park, Md.) made 11 saves while allowing just six goals in victory. The Falcons' Brian Wilson allowed five goals on eight shots on net in the first before giving way to Matt Sanders, who made nine saves on 12 shots the rest of the way.
Zach Pall (Setauket, N.Y.), the nation's leader in face-off winning percentage entering the game (.625), won 12-of-16 opportunities on the day, and picked up 10 ground balls for QU.
Vinny Sandtorv and Ridge Flick scored twice and added an assist each for the Falcons, while Zack Carroll added a goal and two assists. Adam Paranka added a goal and an assist for Air Force.
For the game, the Bobcats dominated the ground-ball game, picking up 34 to the Falcons' 15. QU also won 12-of-17 face-offs. The Falcons took a 1-for-4 to 0-for-2 edge in man-up opportunities.
After the Falcons got on the board first when Flick beat Benzing unassisted at the 11;34 mark of the first, the Bobcats answered with six straight goals.
Marotto evened the score at 1-1, getting the step on his defender from the left of the goal, before slipping a shot low past Wilson from point-blank range. A minute and a half later, Haggerty gave the Bobcats a 2-1 lead, taking Gast's pass from the goal line left before ripping a shot past Wilson from 10 yards out from the left post.
Alessi made it 3-1 Bobcats with just more than five minutes remaining in the first, absorbing a strong hit from a Falcons defender on his way to the net, before bouncing a shot past Wilson from five yards directly in front of the net. Quinnipiac ended the first with two more goals to take a 5-1 lead. Haggerty scored his second of the game off a Cooper assist at the 2:39 mark, before Oppenheimer got on the board off a Schnibbe assist in the final 30 seconds.
Less than a minute into the second period, Kelly got on the board, beating the new Air Force goalie, Sanders. Kelly took Marotto's pass 10 yards out from the left post and ripped it past Sanders.
Carroll scored off a Sandtorv assist to break the Bobcats' momentum at the 11:39 mark of the second. Carroll ripped a shot from 15 yards out from the right post to get it past Benzing. After the Bobcats were penalized twice on the same whistle, Sandtorv scored on the 6-on-4 to make it a 6-3 game with 4:50 left in the first half. The first half ended with the Bobcats leading by the same 6-3 margin.
After the Bobcats killed off a one-minute penalty to start the third, Flick scored his second of the game a minute later to cut the Bobcats advantage to 6-4.
The Bobcats stopped the Falcons' momentum when Haggerty caught the Air Force defense napping. The junior surprised the Falcons' defense with a quick pass in front to Kaiser, who easily slipped a shot past Sanders at the 6:45 mark.
Two minutes later, the Falcons capitalized on the break, when Carroll fed Paranka at the right post. Paranka shot it past a helpless Benzing to again cut the Bobcats' lead to two at 7-5.
The Bobcats' lead shrunk to one goal at the 11:10 mark of the fourth when Flick corralled a full-field pass from Paranka and shot into an empty net. Benzing came out to try to break up the pass, but was just tardy.
Kaiser responded off a Kostaras feed with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation. The freshman fed the senior 10 yards in front of the net and Kaiser ripped a shot high past Sanders to give the Bobcats a two-goal cushion, 8-6. The score would hold up for the remainder of the game as the Bobcats took the victory.
The Bobcats continue ECAC action in Colorado Sunday, when they face Denver. Opening face-off from Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. (11 a.m. MT). Sunday's game will be televised live on MSG+, Comcast Sports New England, Time Warner Cable, Sports Net (Rochester and Buffalo, N.Y.), TW Sports 26, Central New York (Syracuse), TW 3 (Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.), Cox Sports Television (Connecticut and Rhode Island), Fox College Sports (DirecTV Channel 617) and Comcast Entertainment Television (Denver/Colorado Springs).