Bucknell vs. Navy
March 25, 2007
The Game Story:
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Two of the nation's top-ranked defenses locked up in a hard-hitting defensive struggle Sunday afternoon, but it was fourth-ranked Navy that mustered enough offense to prevail 6-3 over No. 16 Bucknell in a key Patriot League men's lacrosse game at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

The Midshipmen, now 8-0 and one of only four unbeaten teams remaining in Division I, received three goals from Ian Dingman and two goals and two assists from Bruce Nechanicky. Navy maintained sole possession of first place in the Patriot League at 5-0, while Bucknell lost for only the second time all year, falling to 7-2, 1-1.

The Bison received goals from Perry Menzies (Upperco, Md./Hereford), Joe Mele (Westbury, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) and Brian Gargan (Baltimore, Md./Mt. St. Joseph's) as well as a stellar 13-save outing from goalie Nick Sciubba (Sea Cliff, N.Y./Salisbury School), but they surrendered all 12 faceoffs in the game and could not convert on any of five second-half extra-man opportunities.

It was a scoreless game for seven minutes before Dingman finally broke through with an EMO goal for Navy. Dingman scored again off a Nechanicky assist with 3:28 left in the first quarter to make it 2-0.

The Midshipmen went up 3-0 right off the second-quarter faceoff. William Wallace, who was 8-for-8 on the day, controlled the draw and set up Nechanicky for a goal just 17 seconds into the period.

The Bison finally scored 4:21 into the second quarter. On a man advantage, Menzies spun past a defender and fired a hard high shot past Colin Finnegan to bring Bucknell within 3-1. Navy answered on a Tommy Wallin goal with just 1:03 left in the half, and the Mids went to the locker room with a 4-1 cushion.

Navy's lead went to 5-1 at the 10:58 mark of the third quarter when Nechanicky took a crossing pass from Nick Mirabito and scored for his fourth point of the day.

Bucknell overcame a late three-goal deficit to defeat then-second-ranked Navy in overtime in the last meeting in Lewisburg in 2005, and the Bison valiantly tried to come from behind in this one.

Mele, who was named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list earlier in the day, got himself free on the right side of the crease and after a nice feed from Austin Winter (Boonton Township, N.J./Mountain Lakes) just snuck a shot across the line to make it a 5-2 game with 5:49 left in the third quarter. Then with 33 seconds left, Gargan skipped one in from deep on the right wing to bring the Bison within 5-3. Wallin was flagged for a cross-check as the goal was scored, but Navy won the ensuing faceoff and was able to kill the penalty.

Bucknell had a two-man advantage for a full minute early in the fourth quarter, but Finnegan intercepted a pass in the crease, and the Mids were able to clear shorthanded. The Bison had two more EMO chances in succession in the fourth quarter but were unable to score.

Navy tacked on a big insurance goal with 5:20 left in the game, when Dingman powered around a defender to complete his hat trick.

The Bison outshot Navy 12-2 in the fourth quarter, but only one of the shots was on the cage. The late flurry gave Bucknell a 28-27 shot advantage, but of the 28 shots just nine were on target, as six shots were saved by Finnegan and three slipped past him.

Bucknell also won the ground ball battle 23-22, led by a career-high eight from sophomore defenseman Billy Haire (Darien, Conn./Darien). Haire and fellow defensemen Evan Burns and Greg Sowyrda were solid all day, holding Navy to less than nine goals for the first time all season. The Bison were also held to a season scoring low, having managed at least seven tallies in each of their previous eight contests.

Navy came into the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense, while the Bison were ranked No. 5.

Bucknell is back in action next Saturday at 1 p.m. against Patriot League rival Holy Cross at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.