Poets need OT to finish off Penguins 10-9 on Senior Day
Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College men's lacrosse team wrapped up their final home game against Dominican University of California Saturday afternoon and needed overtime to pull off the 10-9 victory in front of 400 plus.
Whittier now improves to 7-5 on the season, while Dominican drops to 6-6. The Poets have one game left on their schedule and that is against Colorado College in the second annual Locker-Stabler Cup showdown set to square off in two weeks on May 5 in Colorado beginning at 1:00pm. The last time these two teams met was back on May 7, 2011 where Colorado College escaped with a one goal victory 6-5.
Prior to the start of the game Whittier Head Coach Brian Kelly recognized his seven seniors who were playing in their final home game of 2012. These seniors were impact players for the Poets and all starters and included Chad Kelsey, Mike Neumayr, Sam Russell, Robert Bazlen, Jake Hawkridge, Daniel McQuade, and Andrew Swett.
This afternoon's matchup proved to be all Poets early and Penguins late but Whittier managed to capitalize on a man up situation early in sudden death OT that proved to be the confounding factor in the victory.
Whittier who has only allowed 13 goals in fourth quarters this season gave way to seven scoring strikes in the final frame this afternoon that pulled the Penguins even with the Poets forcing OT.
The Purple & Gold managed one goal in the final frame as it came from senior McQuade who went low after being found cutting to the goal from Russell. This goal put Whittier in front 9-8 with a 1:04 remaining but on the ensuing possession Reed Upson from Dominican found the top left part of the goal that tied the game at 9-9.
Whittier and Dominican swapped goals in the first quarter keeping the game tied at 2-2 after one quarter of play. In the second stanza Whittier's defense stepped up big holding the Penguin offense to just five shots compared to the Poets 14. In the second Whittier added three and extended their lead to 5-2 going into the half capped off by a no look behind the back goal from McQuade with twelve seconds remaining.
Coming out of the break Whittier continued playing suffocating defense holding the Penguin offense scoreless for the second straight quarter while tacking on another three goals from Russell, Hunter Hall, and Tommy Andrews.
This moved the score to 8-2 entering the final quarter of play where the Penguins rattled off six straight goals that pulled them even at 8-8 sparked by a man up goal a minute in. With the game all knotted up Dominican had an opportunity to add the go ahead goal at the 4:55 mark but after a Jake Bernstein turnover Whittier's Foster Cunningham took it the length of the field and found McQuade just outside the crease for the go ahead goal. But with 1:04 remaining Dominican's Reed Upson connected in the top left corner with nine seconds to go that ultimately led to OT.
Thirteen seconds into the overtime period Dylan Acevedo from Dominican was charged with unsportsmanlike conduct for covering the ball on the opening faceoff allowing Whittier to have a man up advantage for a minute and they made the most of it as Russell tossed a ball in front of the goal for an outstretched Hall who caught and released in a matter of seconds for the game winner.
Starting goalie Bazlen made 14 saves in the victory, which included five in the third period.
Due to Whittier's faceoff specialist Kelsey being knocked out of the game early with a dislocated shoulder Dominican held a distinct advantage in the center circle where they won 15-20 faceoffs. Despite outshooting Dominican 39-33, the Penguins still held the advantage in clear attempts (14-14), and ground balls (30-28).
The Poets who were penalized three times, held firm on their man-down defense, allowing just one goal in three opportunities for the Penguins allowing the lone man up goal to occur early in the fourth.