Lehigh vs. Colgate
April 26, 2013
The Game Story:
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Colgate's 2013 season neared its conclusion here Friday night when the Raiders were eliminated from the Patriot League Men's Lacrosse Tournament 15-7 by Lehigh.

All that's left is a final regular season game next Saturday at No. 2-ranked Maryland.

The game was decided when Lehigh extended a 6-1 halftime lead to 10-1 before the Raiders gained a single possession in the third quarter. Colgate's first shot of the period didn't come until 5:28 showed on the clock.

“They came out in that third quarter and really took it to us,” Raiders head coach Mike Murphy said. “The coaching staff talked about trying to deliver the first blow in the third quarter, and instead we took it. We lost the opening face-off and it felt like we never got the ball.”

Colgate drops to 8-6, while Lehigh improves to 11-4. The Mountain Hawks advance to Sunday's championship game against Bucknell, which defeated Army 12-9 in Friday's first semifinal.

“You've got to credit Lehigh, but I'm proud of my team,” Murphy said. “They gave a great effort. All 32 guys who can play in a Patriot League Tournament game gutted it out.

“I was happy with the effort, just not so happy with the execution.”

McCann, Walsh Score Five
Colgate was led offensively by a pair of players who will be scoring leaders for the 2014 squad: Brendon McCann and Ryan Walsh.

McCann scored his fourth hat trick of the season and second in the last three games to give the junior an even 20 goals for the season – trailing only Walsh and Peter Baum on the Colgate ledger. His two fourth-quarter tallies showed off some nifty stick-handling, with one a backhander and the other behind-the-back.

“It's really more of a confidence thing,” McCann said of his recent scoring surge. “When it's going, it's going.”

McCann has come alive down the stretch, scoring eight goals and two assists the last three games. But the junior from Warrenton, Va., knows next year's lineup – and his role – will be different.

“We're going to really miss all these seniors,” McCann said. “Pete's great, (James) Queeney – we're going to miss all their points and their production. But it's not something we can dwell on. Next year, we're going to go out there and give the Colgate program everything we have.”

Walsh added two goals late in the third period, his team-leading 34th and 35th of the season. It also marked the 30 consecutive game for the sophomore scoring a goal, Division I's second-longest active streak.

“The future is very bright for this program,” Murphy said. “We didn't have great execution tonight, but Brendon McCann's been throwing up for two days and he goes out and scores three goals. Ryan Walsh gets a couple.

“I was happy to see Mike Thomas score a goal at the end and get my seniors who didn't see a lot of action some playing time. With the 2013 freshman class coming in next year, with Brendon coming back for his senior year, we're excited for the year Jimmy Ryan had – yeah, the future's bright.”

Early Disadvantage
Lehigh struck for the game's first goal, but it could have turned into much more. Patrick Corbett's tally for the Mountain Hawks came just after Colgate's Bobby Lawrence was flagged not once but twice for cross-checking.

It was 1-0 Lehigh with 8:41 showing, but the Raiders were able to fend off the two-minute disadvantage.

Lehigh made it 2-0 with 45 seconds left in the quarter on Alex Drake's goal. The score came after a Colgate defensive gamble didn't pay off and Drake was left all alone at the net.

But Colgate answered almost immediately. Robert Grabher fought for the face-off win and then flipped a pass behind his shoulder to Baum, who found McCann one-on-one with the Patriot League's Goalkeeper of the Year, Matt Poillon.

McCann won that battle and it was 2-1 exiting the first quarter.

Lehigh put a 4-0 whitewash on Colgate in the second. The Raiders outshot their hosts 11-8, but Lehigh made half its shots count. David DiMaria put the exclamation point on things with a pair of scores in the final 3:22 to make it 6-1 Mountain Hawks at the break. DiMaria finished with three goals and three assists.

Despite Grabher holding a 7-2 advantage in face-off wins, the Raiders continued their recent struggles in the opening 30 minutes. Counting Friday night, Colgate's last five Patriot League contests saw the Raiders score just 15 first-half goals – or an average of three per game prior to intermission.

The second half opened with Lehigh completely controlling possession and scoring four times in the opening seven minutes. Colgate's first possession of the third quarter came at the 8:42 mark with the score 10-1.

Murphy switched goalkeepers to Jake Danehy, and the freshman earned some valuable game experience. But the Raiders basically traded goals the rest of the way.

Thomas Finds the Net
In addition to the two goals each from Walsh and McCann over the final 20 minutes, Matt Clarkson scored his 11th of the year to close the third quarter and Michael Thomas found the net with 52 seconds remaining – much to the delight of his teammates and coaches.

“It was great to see Mike Thomas score that goal for us at the end,” Murphy said of his senior. Thomas saw action in 10 games this season after missing all but one in 2012 because of injury. Friday night's goal was Thomas' first since the 2011 Patriot League Tournament semifinal win against Army.

Shots for the game were 40-35 in favor of Colgate, while Lehigh held a 35-32 edge in ground balls. Colgate won the face-offs 14-12, and Lehigh committed 14 turnovers to Colgate's 12. The Raiders were 12-of-13 on clears, while the Mountain Hawks finished 18-of-22.

Grabher finished with eight ground balls and Walsh a career-high seven, while Lawrence was his usual disruptive self on defense with four caused turnovers and three ground balls. Baum also picked up three ground balls and assisted on two goals, giving him 61 helpers for his Colgate career and 224 points.