The Fairfield Stags won a program record 12th game this season with a hard fought victory over Ohio State Buckeyes in the ECAC Lacrosse League Tournament semi finals. The Stags now advance the ECAC Tournament finals against the Loyola Greyhounds on Friday night at 6 PM EST in Denver, Colo. Loyola is ranked #3 in the country and is the top seed for the ECAC Tournament. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
The Buckeyes got the board first with unassisted goal from Jessie King at the 10:41 mark of the first period. Michael Roe wins the faceoff and takes it down the field and fires a shot. The OSU goalkeeper Greg Dutton makes the initial save but the rebound comes to Roe who fires the ball into the goal for a 1-1 tie. Freshman Drew Federico scores unassisted with 7:18 showing on the clock for a 2-1 Fairfield lead. Sixty three seconds later, Sam Snow gets his first goal of the day unassisted for a 3-1 Stags lead. With 2:05 left in the period, John Snellman gets his first goal of the day with an assist from Brent Adams on his unhand low rocket shot for a 4-1 Fairfield lead. Snow scores his second goal of the day with an assist from super freshman Colin McLinden with just 9 ticks left on the period after a time out called by Coach Andy Copelan to set up the offense with 19 seconds showing on the clock for a 5-1 Fairfield lead. Can not count the number of times this season that the Stags score after a Coach Copelan time out.
The second period belonged to OSU. After a cross checking penalty to Colin McLindin during the middle of a scrum for a loose ball, OSU cashed in with an extra man goal by King with an assist from Logan Schuss at the 8:05 mark to cut the lead to 5-2. OSU scored again with 55 seconds left in the half on a David Planning goal and an assist from King to make it a 5-3 game. Charlie Cipriano had 8 saves credited to him in the first half and was displaying why he was named the ECAC Goalkeeper of the Year.
The Buckeyes opened the second half scoring with an assist goal by Adam Trombley from Dominique Alexander at the 12:33 mark. Fairfield responds with a unassisted goal by Snellman on one of his hard underhand shots at the 8:23 mark to increase the Stags lead to 6-4. Four minutes later, Snellman gets his hat trick by placing a shot top right corner for a 7-4 Fairfield lead with an assist from McLinden.
The fourth quarter started with a quick goal by Ohio State 27 seconds into the stanza by Adam Trombley with an assist from Kevin Mack to cut Fairfield’s lead to 7-5. With 9:44 showing on the clock, the Buckeyes make it a one goal game with Planning getting his second goal of the day unassisted. The ECAC Offensive Player of the Year Logan Schuss ties the game at 7-7 with an assist from Nick Liddil at the 7:50 mark of the game. The Stags defense did a marvelous job limiting Schuss to just one goal and one assist. After the OSU goal, Roe wins the face off and passes to Brent Adams. Adams shot hits the post and OSU gets the ball back. Ohio State takes a shot but it is wide and the Stags get the ball with six minutes left in the game. The Stags offense is patient as it was all night long and is stopped with 4:30 left when Dutton saves a shot from Adams. At 3:45, OSU takes a shot and Cipriano makes a great save. The clear is good and McLindin behind the cage finds a streaking Snow who one times it into the goal with 2:49 left in the game for a 8-7 Stags lead. Marshall Johnson takes the faceoff and wins the draw by getting the loose ground ball. OSU creates a turnover with 2 minutes left in the game. With 77 seconds left in the game, the Buckeyes take a shot that is saved by Cipriano. The game is not over as Ohio State gets a loose ground ball on the clear, but the Stags create a turnover with 55 seconds showing on the clock. Coach Copelan calls a time a time out with 31 seconds left to settle down the team and the Stags offense holds the ball to win the game.
Fairfield outshot the Buckeyes by a 35 to 29 margin and won the ground ball battle 28 to 23. Ohio State had the better of the face offs winning 11 of 19 but Roe and Johnson for Fairfield got the key faceoffs. The Stags only had one extra man chance and did not convert while the Buckeyes were able to get one goal out of three chances. Both teams had 10 caused turnovers.
Key to the game was the play of Cipriano who has 14 saves and two ground balls. Plus twice he came out to the cage to intercept OSU passes and start the Stags clear. Snellman who has been quiet the last couple of games came out big with a hat trick. Snow also gets a hat trick and the game winner. This is his fifth winning goal of the year for the Stags. McLinden came up big with three assists including the assist on the game winner. The Stags defense really shut down the OSU shooters not allowing them to take many close in shots especially in the first half. Fairfield’s offense was patient and scored early.
Not only did the Stags create a school record with its 12th win on the year, but the Stags have a 12-0 record when they score seven or more goals this season. In the post game press conferences, the OSU head coach credited Cipriano for the Stags victory. Coach Copelen credited his seniors for the win and stated he had to get back to the hotel to breakdown the Loyola versus Denver tape. Not much time to savor the big victory for the coach and his staff. Roger Yergeau ’73