HAMDEN, Conn. – As thrilling an ending one may ever see in a men's lacrosse game, a monstrous comeback bid by Quinnipiac University came up just short in an 11-10 loss to Canisius College before nearly 500 people at the QU Lacrosse Turf Saturday afternoon. Six unanswered goals in the fourth quarter pulled the Bobcats to within one goal with one minute to play, but a stellar defensive stand finalized a heartbreaking defeat for the home team.
With playoff implications on the line, the result makes Quinnipiac's (5-5, 3-2 MAAC) road to the playoffs a tad more difficult with just one MAAC game remaining on the schedule. The scenario is simple for the Bobcats, a win over Siena College on Saturday, April 19 and Quinnipiac secures a place in the four-team tournament. A loss to the Saints and Quinnipiac will need some help around the league to be a part of the 2014 MAAC Championships.
For three of the four quarters, Quinnipiac couldn't quite find a rhythm on offense which allowed Canisius to build an 11-4 lead at the end of 45 minutes. However, that all changed in the final quarter – beginning with a goal off the stick of Matt Kycia (West Hartford, Conn.) just 51 seconds in. Less than one minute after that, Michael Sagl (West Islip, N.Y.) got into the action with his lone goal of the game to pull Quinnipiac within four. Momentum had begun to change hands in favor of the Bobcats.
Matt Diehl (Towson, Md.) cut the deficit to three goals (11-8) when he finished off a feed from Dylan Webster (Brampton, Ontario) with 9:15 seconds left. Diehl returned the favor and assisted Webster for the fourth straight Bobcat goal, while Webster pulled Quinnipiac to within two goals when he netted his second straight goal with 1:51 seconds remaining. Just 32 seconds later, Ryan Keenan (Oshawa, Ontario) made it a one-possession game when he scored off a play in which Nate Nibbelink (Hampstead, Md.) created. The Bobcats had all of the momentum with Canisius on the ropes.
Due in large part to Zach Vehar (Hudson, Ohio), who won 19-of-25 in the faceoff circle, Quinnipiac corralled possession on the ensuing faceoff to set up an exciting finish. Vehar was 6-of-7 from the X in the final quarter. Despite generating several good looks at goal, one of the league's top defenses held strong and fended off a series of four Quinnipiac shots. Griff goalkeeper Alex Govenettio made two saves during the stint, including one with four seconds left to preserve the victory. Canisius improved to 6-5 overall and 3-2 in MAAC play.
Quinnipiac was fundamentally sound all game, and controlled majority of the possession. The Bobcats held a 47-29 advantage in shots, a 19-6 advantage from the faceoff circle, and committed just 10 turnovers – the same number as Canisius. Efficiency in the attacking third proved to be the difference in the outcome.
Sagl, Webster and Diehl each had three points to lead the Bobcat attack. Sagl had a goal and two assists to extend his point streak to 29 straight games. Webster and Diehl each finished with two goals and an assist. Kycia had two goals, while Tom Gilligan (Brookfield, Conn.), Keenan, and Vehar finished off the Quinnipiac scoring summary with one apiece. Senior goalie Gill Conners (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) had seven saves in net.
Tim Edwards led all Griffs with three points on two goals and an assist. Govenettio stopped 14 shots to collect his sixth win of the campaign.
Quinnipiac is back in action against nationally-ranked Fairfield on Tuesday, April 15 at the QU Lacrosse Turf Complex. Faceoff is set for 4 p.m.
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