Lehigh vs. Navy
March 10, 2009
The Game Story:
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh led No. 15 Navy 5-1 midway through the second quarter, but the Mountain Hawks were unable to hold onto the lead and eventually fell to the Midshipmen 10-8 on Tuesday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex in the 2009 Patriot League opener. Senior Ricky Cornetta led the Brown and White with three goals and two assists, while freshman Adam Johnston found the back of the net three times as well. Navy, which improves to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the Patriot League received two goals apiece from Patrick Moran and Brian Striffler.

Junior Evan Guerrero led Lehigh with four ground balls, while four other Mountain Hawks scooped up three apiece. Will Scudder won 10-of-20 in the X, while Guerrero caused three turnovers. Cameron Lao-Gosney unleashed a team-high six shots and Conor Murphy stopped ten shots in goal for the Brown and White.

Navy was credited with 30 shots, led by Tim Paul with five, while Zack Schroeder and Thomas Zimmerman both totaled four ground balls. Frankie Coppola won 10-of-19 face-offs, while RJ Wickham earned the win in goal with eight saves. The Midshipmen were whistled for only one penalty on the night, which went against Geoff Leone.

Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese offered his thoughts afterwards. “I thought we battled hard. We’ve been looking for a full four quarter effort and tonight we got that. I thought our guys played hard against a very talented and athletic Navy team and gave it their all to the very end.” He continued, “We just try and play every single play until the end. You aren’t going to beat Navy by worrying about the end result, you need to make the most of every single play in front of you, and I thought our guys did that. They really battled hard.”

Playing in his first game this season, Richard Bradley opened the scoring for Lehigh with a goal 1:08 into the contest. Paul tied the game at one for Navy with a score of his own off an assist from Moran at the 11:32 mark. From there, Lehigh scored four straight times, as Johnston scored with 8:41 on the quarter clock and Brian Bienemann beat the horn and gave Lehigh a 3-1 lead after 15 minutes of play.

Cornetta scored back-to-back goals to begin the second, giving Lehigh a 5-1 advantage with 6:12 left before halftime. Navy scored twice before the end of the quarter and the Mountain Hawks lead was down to two at intermission.

Moran opened the second half with a goal 26 seconds into the third quarter which brought the Midshipmen to within one and Andy Warner tied the game at five with 10:47 remaining in the quarter. Three more Navy scores gave the visitors an 8-5 lead with 3:34 left in the third, but Johnston got Lehigh right back into the game with his second score of the night with 1:21 left to make the score 8-6. Brian Striffler and Zimmerman answered Johnston’s goal with a pair of scores in the final 35 seconds though, and Lehigh went into the fourth down 10-6.

Cornetta scored the final quarter’s first goal with 12:35 on the clock to make the score 10-7 in favor of the visitors, but from there neither team scored for the next ten minutes. Johnston brought the Mountain Hawks within two scores with his final goal of the night at the 2:49 mark but that was as close as Lehigh would get. The Mountain Hawks had several chances down the stretch to close the gap, but could not get past Wickham.

Lehigh is back in action on Saturday when the Mountain Hawks take on yet another ranked opponent, this time No. 20 Villanova on the road. The opening face-off is set for 1:00.