Lehigh vs. Army
March 19, 2008
The Game Story:
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh went down to the wire with No. 14 Army on Wednesday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex and had a chance to tie things up late, but Black Knights goal keeper Adam Fullerton stopped Max Dahlem’s shot with one second remaining to lift the visitors to a 4-3 victory over the Mountain Hawks. Dahlem was one of three Mountain Hawks to score goals, and the junior also added an assist, while Jonathan Stumpf and Matt Diehl also scored for Lehigh. With the loss the Brown and White falls to 4-5 overall and 1-2 in Patriot League action, while Army improves to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in league play. Wednesday’s game marked the third straight season that the final outcome of the Lehigh – Army game was a single goal.

Lehigh took five more shots than its opponent, 29-24, including a 10-4 advantage in the opening quarter. Senior Fred Cassilly led the Mountain Hawks with eight shots, while Stumpf took five. Justin Bokmeyer led the Black Knights with five shots, and four other Black Knights took three shots. Lehigh won five-of-11 face-offs, led by senior Stuart Baxter’s five wins in ten tries, while Baxter, Evan Guerrero and Eric Spirko each scooped up three ground balls. Spirko had a great game in goal for the Mountain Hawks sending back 12 shots.

Army goal keeper Adam Fullerton, a preseason All-American, recorded 11 saves for the Black Knights and also scooped up one ground ball, while Craig Massie scooped up five ground balls and caused three turnovers. Roy Ragusa won five-of-nine face-offs for the visitors and Sean Reppard won one-of-two.

Army took a 1-0 lead when Alex Rhoads scored on a feed from Jeremy Boltus at the 11:38 mark of the first quarter. Dahlem tied things up at one however, with an unassisted score at the 3:31 mark. The two teams remained tied at one after 15 minutes of play.

Diehl scored his eighth goal of the season with just 46 seconds to go in the opening half and Lehigh took a 2-1 lead into halftime. It marked the second time this season Lehigh was either tied or ahead versus a ranked team after the Mountain Hawks were even with No. 2 Duke at intermission, 4-4.

The third quarter saw just one goal, which came from Army’s Rob McCllion at the 13:35 mark off a feed from Paul Wigdzinski. That tied the score at two and set the stage for a dramatic final 15 minutes.

Army took its first lead of the contest since the first quarter when Jason Peyer netted his ninth goal of the season off an assist from McCallion with 12:45 left in the game. A second score from Peyer gave the Black Knights a two-goal lead with 6:53 to go, but Lehigh refused to go away. Stumpf netted Lehigh’s second man-up goal of the contest at the 1:51 mark, and the Mountain Hawks were within one at 4-3. Lehigh had several opportunities in the final minute, but could muster only one shot, which Fullerton saved and held onto as time ran out.

Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese gave his thoughts afterwards. “Obviously you always want to win. Army is a good team, an extremely well-coached defensive team and they showed that tonight. I feel like our guys fought hard though. We battled. The ones (losses) that hurt the most are when the guys stop fighting but that was certainly not the case tonight. We fought; we battled to the very end and put a full 60-minute effort into it.”

He continued, “We just have to continue to keep getting better. Keep working in practice and keep developing our guys. I think they are buying into the system and gaining confidence everyday.”

Lehigh is back in action on Saturday afternoon when the Mountain Hawks play host to St. John’s at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Game time is set for 2:00 and all of the action will be shown live on Lehighsports.com.