To the Founders and Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse-The delayed start to the 2013 Fairfield University Men’s Lacrosse Season ended on Saturday February 16th at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI under cold temperatures with snow falling and resulted in a 8 to 6 hard fought win for the Stags over the Bulldogs. Starting for the Stags to open the 2013 season were: Attack: Tristian Sperry, Nick Guida, Jordan Greenfield; Midfield-Sam Snow, Colin McLinden, TJ Neubauer; Defense-Toby Armour, Greg Perraut, Tom Lukacovic; Goalkeeper-Jack Murphy.
The start of the game was delayed 17 minutes because the scoreboard was not working and snow started to pick up as the teams hit the field but the snow was not sticking. Bryant wins the opening face off to start the game. The Stags’ Murphy makes his first save of his Fairfield career 37 seconds into the game and clears the ball successfully. The Stags test the Bryant’s freshman goal keeper Tom Carey making his first start after playing 4 plus minutes against Colgate last Sunday and he makes a couple of great saves. At the 9:54 mark of the period, Junior Jordan Greenfield breaks free after taking a pass from Sophomore Colin McLinden and beats Bryant’s Carey to open the scoring for the game and the 2013 season for a 1-0 score. Sophomore Nick Guida gets his first goal for 2013 with an assist from Junior Eric Warden with 8:23 showing on the clock to post a 2-0 Fairfield lead. The Bulldogs win their third faceoff of the game but are unable to capitalize. After turnovers by both teams, Bryant’s Bo Redpath scores an unassisted goal at 7:33 to cut the lead to 2-1. Bryant’s Kevin Massa again wins the draw, taking his fourth straight face off. Bryant is assessed the first penalty of the game at 4:15 for a one minute cross checking foul. The Stags take two shot with the extra man but Bryant’s Carey is up to the task and makes both saves. With 2:22 left in the quarter, Fairfield’s Sam Snow gets a 30 second penalty for being offsides. The Stags defense plays tight and creates a Bryant turnover. Period ends with the score Fairfield 2 and Bryant 1.
Bryant’s Massa continues to dominate the face off circle and wins his fifth straight to start the second period. Bryant’s Shane Morrell comes from behind the cage and scores unassisted to tie the game at 2-2 at the 13:34 mark. Bryant starts to dominate the action with Stags set offense unable to work and the Bryant defense continuing to pressure Fairfield as soon as they get the ball in the box. Coach Copelan takes a time out with 10:24 left in the period to settle the Stags as Bryant is starting to control the possessions. In the next few minutes, both goal keepers make a great save to keep the game tight. Bryant’s Carey makes a great save and starts the fast break with Brian Schlansker scoring from the right crease to make it a Bryant 3-2 lead with 6:36 showing on the clock. Once again Massa from Bryant wins the face off but the Stags defense plays tough and gets a turnover. With 4:53 left in the half, the Stags Senior Captain Snow scores an assisted goal from McLinden in front of the cage to make it a 3-3 tie game. Fairfield finally wins the face off due to a violation by Bryant’s Massa. With 3:38 left in the half, Fairfield starts a very long possession. The Stags take a couple of high shots but continue to hold the ball. Coach Andy calls a time with 2:31 left in the half. In 2012, the Stags scored an amazing number of goals after Copelan draws up an offensive play. Once again the Stags score 19 seconds after the time out but the officials waive off the goal due to a crease violation! Fairfield’s Murphy make a solid save on a Bryant shot from 10 yards to preserve the 3-3 tie at halftime.
At halftime the observations are both teams are having trouble setting up their offenses, Bryant is dominating the face off circle and it is COLD!!! Are these teams going to play another classic OT game like they did in the 2012 season opener?
The third period starts and Massa once again wins the faceoff for Bryant. With the snow falling, both teams trade shots and turnovers for the next 6 minutes. Bryant creates a fast break and Dan Sipperly breaks the tie for a 4-3 Bryant lead with 8:48 in the third period. Massa again wins the face off and gets tripped by the Stags’ Thomas Lukacovic to create a one minute extra man opportunity for Bryant at 8:40. Bryant wastes little time and 22 seconds later, Peter McMahon scores an assisted goal to give Bryant a 5-3 lead. Massa continues to dominate the X and wins the faceoff. At 7:09 mark of the period, Fairfield’s Greg Perraut gets called for slashing to give Bryant another extra man chance. Fairfield’s defense holds and clears the penalty. The Stags are shooting but can not hit the cage over the next several minutes including a fantastic save made by Bryant’s Carey on two shots which one was a close in shot taken by Nick Guida on a rebound with 3:30 left in the third period. Bryant finally creates a turnover but the Stags get the ball in the last minute of the period and Sophomore Tristan Sperry scoring unassisted cuts the lead to 5-4 with 20 seconds left in the third period.
The fourth period starts with Massa winning his 12th of 13 face offs and takes a quick shot but has no one backing it up and the Stags take possession. Both goal keepers are hot with Bryant’s Carey making a great save on an in close shot from Snow and the Stags’ Murphy responds by stoning the Bryant attack with 12:55 left in the game and he starts the clear to set up the Fairfield offense. The Stags’ Greenfield gets his second goal of the day unassisted on a bounce shot to tie the game at 5-5 with 12:09 left on the clock. The Stags finally win the face off and both teams trade turnovers. The Stags grab the lead at 6-5 with Greenfield completing his hat trick with another assist from Warden on a cross the crease pass with 9:31 left in the game. The Stags win the second straight face off but after the Stags’ offense was putting on great pressure Bryant finally gets to clear the ball. On the clear Bryant’s Colin Gantz scores unassisted to tie the game with 8:06 showing on the clock. The Stags win another face off and set up their offense. Greenfield gets his fourth goal unassisted to put Fairfield back in the lead by a 7-6 score with 6:07 left in the game. Bryant’s Massa wins the faceoff to set up their offense but the Stags’ defense creates a turnover. With 4:30 left, Fairfield gets a stall call since they are not going to the cage. Snow gets pushed with 4:04 left for a 30 second extra man chance for Fairfield but Bryant is able clear the penalty. The Stags’s Lukacovic gets a 30 second interference call giving Bryant an extra man chance to tie the game with 2:59 remaining. Twenty seconds later, the Stags keeper Murphy stops a close in shot to preserve the Fairifield lead and clears to ball to kill the penalty chance. With 2 minutes remaining, Coach Copelan calls a time out to set up the Stags’ offense and the snow stops. McLinden gets his first goal of 2013 with goal keeper out of the net with 1:44 left in the game to put Fairfield up by a 8-6 score (the Stags once again responding to another Coach Andy time out!). Bryant wins the face off and starts their final offensive drive. They keep shooting high and wide a couple of times with one minute remaining but retain possession. With 20 seconds left in the game, Murphy makes another great save and Bryant is called for a crease violation. The Stags kill the ball for the remaining time to get the win in their first game of the 2013 season by a 8-6 score.
The stars of the game were Jordan Greenfield with his four goals, Colin McLinden (should I crown him Super Sophomore after one game? He was my Super Freshman in 2012!) with one goal and two assists, Eric Warden with his two assists and Jack Murphy who made 11 saves including a couple of tough saves in the fourth period. Bryant out shot the Stags by a 43 to 36 margin and Bryant won 15 of 18 face offs. Bryant had 19 turnovers versus 15 turnovers for Fairfield. While Murphy was credited with 11 saves, Bryant’s goal keeper Carey was credited with 6 saves. Bryant captured 38 ground balls with the Stags scooped up 23 ground balls. Fairfield was 0 for 2 in man up chances while Bryant converted one man goal out of 4 chances. Fairfield was successful on 20 of 22 clears while Bryant completed 13 of 16 clears. Murphy lead the Stags in ground balls with 6 ground balls and both Nick Guida and Tristian Sperry got to 2 ground balls.
The Stags are 1-0 for the 2013 season and play again on Tuesday February 19th at 3 PM at home on Alumni Field versus the undefeated Naval Academy who have won both of their first starts in 2013. Look for the pregame report on Monday. Roger Yergeau ’73