Fairfield 9 Denver 8 OT

WOW!!  Fourth OT victory this season!!  Eleventh team victory!!  Comeback from a three goal deficit in the fourth period!!  Beating the 10/12 Nationally ranked team!! What a game!!! A beautiful 70 degree spring day to play lacrosse!!!

The Fairfield Stags got an important win for the program against the Denver Pioneers to solidify their seeding the ECAC Lacrosse League Tournament in the first week of May.  Also gives the Stags a season record of 11-2 and 4-1 in the ECAC.  Denver dropped to 7-5 overall and 3-3 in the ECAC.  The eleven victories ties the most wins in the program’s history.

This game was an individual face off war between two of the best in the country, Michael Roe for the Stags and Chase Carraro for the Pioneers.  Carraro won the initial face off and took the ball to the cage where he beat Fairfield’s Charlie Cipriano in the first five seconds to put the Pioneers up 1-0.  Roe wins the second faceoff of the game but the Stags’ offense commits a turnover.  Denver’s Mark Matthews, one of the country’s leading career scorers hits the back of the net to make it a 2-0 Denver lead at the 12:34 mark of the first period.  Sam Snow gets his first of five goals on the day scoring unassisted with 8:33 showing on the clock  to cut the lead to 2-1.  Snow gets his second goal of the day with an assist from super freshman Colin McLinden to tie the game at 2-2 with 4:49 left in the period.  Sophomore Alex Cramer, filling in for the injured Eric Warden, gets his first goal of the season with an assist from Brent Adams for a 3-2 Stags lead at 2:12 of the first period to close out the scoring.

As noted in last week’s blog, lacrosse is a game of runs.  Now Denver matches the Stags three goal run with their own run of three goals.  On a man up situation, Denver’s Wes Berg, who would end up with a hat trick today, score with an assist to tie the game at 3-3 at the 9:32 mark of the second stanza.  The next Denver goal comes with 5:44 left in the period on an assisted goal to make it a 4-3 game.  The Pioneers push it to a two goal lead with an unassisted goal to make it a 5-3 game with 3:47 showing on the clock.  Freshman Tristian Sperry scored unassisted with 2:18 left in the period to make it a 5-4 game after a great timeout by Coach Andy Copelan, who got the Stags offense back on track.  Roe wins the face off and junior Marshall Johnson picks up the ground ball and passes to Cramer for his second goal of the game to tie it up at 5-5 with 9 seconds coming off the clock.  The teams go into the locker rooms tied up at 5-5 at halftime.  Not enough can be said about the game goalkeeper Charlie Cipriano had in the first half.  In the first quarter he stopped two point blank shots and had 5 saves in the first period and 4 saves in the second period.

The halftime saw two lacrosse teams from the Stags history honored at halftime. The first Stags lacrosse team the started as a club in 1972 was honored and five of the eighteen players were able to make the game.  The 1987 club team which was undefeated and had a 11-0 record was also honored at halftime.  The 1987 team brought back 20 members of the team back to campus.  The teams were met by Fairfield’s President Father Von Ark,  Vice President of Administration Mark Reed and Athletic Director Eugene Doris.

The third period saw the defenses take hold for both teams and Denver started a three goal run that extended to the fourth period.  The Pioneers Berg gets his second goal of the day unassisted to make it a 6-5 game at the 11:51 mark of the stanza.  Matthews scores with an assist to push the lead to 7-5 with 3:28 left in the period.  The Stags were held scoreless in the period for only the second time this season.

The fourth quarter was packed with action and drama.  Denver completes its three goal run with a Berg getting his hat trick with 9:47 showing on the clock for a 8-5 Pioneer lead.  Fairfield takes a two man penalty with a 30 second holding call and 1 minute illegal body check.  The Stags defense comes up BIG after Berg hit the post and reserve defenseman Tommy Whitlock getting the crucial ground ball.  After the clear is good which kills the two man penalty, Coach Copelan calls time out to draw up a play.  Play starts and 11 seconds later Sam Snow scores his third goal of the day with an assist from Brent Adams at the 7:39 mark of the final stanza to make it a 8-6 game.  Roe wins the face off and scoops up the ground ball.  Michael passes the ball to Adams who scores unassisted 23 seconds after the Snow goal to cut the Denver lead to 8-7.  Roe again wins the face off but the Stags commit a turnover.  Denver is now content to take the ball downfield and pass the ball around the cage.  The officials call a stall warning and now Denver must keep the ball in the box.  The Stags defense waits to create a turnover and forces the Pioneers out of the box with 2:41 left in the game.  This turnover was created by Gordie Wells.  The Stags clear the ball and Adams attempt to tie the game is stopped by the Denver goal keeper.  The Pioneers clear the ball and since it is under two minutes to play have to keep it in the box.  The Stags defense is aggressive in trying to create a turnover.  With 1:02 to go in the game, the officials call a 30 second holding penalty on the Stags.  Fairfield has to double ball and goal keeper Cipriano creates a turnover outside the crease and gets pushed by a Denver player.  Now Denver is called for a 30 pushing penalty in the defensive zone with 34 seconds to go.  The Stags get a free clear and get the ball in the box when Coach Copelan uses his last time out of the game.  He again designs a play and the Stags Snow scores to tie the game at 8-8 with an assist from Sperry with just 19 ticks left on the clock.

The Stags are now playing in their fourth OT game this season while Denver is playing in is third OT game in the 2012 campaign.  The Stags are 3-0 in OT while the Pioneers are 0-2 in OT games.

The crucial OT face off is won by the Stags’s Roe with Johnson picking up the ground ball.  Coach Copelan uses his OT time time out to set up the offense.  John Snellman fires a cannon shot that is blocked by the Denver defender and Snow picks up the rebound ground ball and fires in his fifth goal of the game to end the contest at the 3:28 mark of the OT period for the Stags fourth sudden victory of the season.

Lots of heroes on the day.  Snow with his five goals, Adams who got a goal and two assists, Cramer with two goals in his first start this season and Sperry with his goal and assist.  Goalkeeper Cipriano had 12 saves on the day with 9 coming in the first half and two ground balls and the crucial caused turnover.  Roe had a GREAT day in the face off X winning 14 of the 21 face offs and going 7 for 9 in the second half.  In addtion he was credited with a game best of 8 ground balls.  Johnson had 4 ground balls and Wells had three ground balls.  The Stags won the ground ball battle coming up with 30 versus 29 for Denver.  Wells and Reed Marko had two caused turnovers on the day.

Denver out shot the Stags by a 33 to 30 margin.  Ryan LaPlante, Denver’s goalkeeper had 10 saves on the day.  The Pioneers were 1 out of three extra man opportunities while the Stags cashed in their only extra man chance in the last 30 seconds of the game.

The Stags close out the regular season with another ECAC contest against the Buckeyes of Ohio State on Saturday April 28th at 1 PM on Lessing Field.   Roger Yergeau ’73

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