Navy vs. Canisius
March 13, 2007
The Game Story:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.), Billy Looney (Silver Spring, Md.) and Bruce Nechanicky (Montgomery Village, Md.) each produced a hat trick to lead the fifth-ranked Navy men's lacrosse team to a 13-5 victory over Canisius (0-3) Tuesday morning at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Mids are off to a 5-0 start for the second-straight season and only the second time in the last 18 years.

While Dingman, Looney and Nechanicky paced the Mids with three goals apiece, junior attack Nick Mirabito (Binghamton, N.Y.) pitched in a pair of goals and assists, while newcomer Basil Daratsos (Niskayuna, N.Y.) and junior Matt Guido (North Caldwell, N.J.) scored once. Looney led all scorers, adding a pair of assists for his first-collegiate five-point contest. Five different players scored for Canisius, including senior attack Kevin Ross who led the Golden Griffins with a goal and an assist.

Canisius looked to take the early lead in the game when attack Michael Blocho wrapped around the left side of the goal and sent a shot past Navy keeper Colin Finnegan (Arnold, Md.). The goal, however, was waived off after the official's checked Blocho's stick and ruled it illegal, sending him to the sideline to serve a three-minute unreleasable penalty. Despite multiple shots, Navy was unable to take advantage of the penalty.

Navy finally got on the scoreboard at the 6:37 mark in the first quarter when Dingman curled around the left side of the cage and stuck in the game's first goal. The Navy lead, however, would be short-lived, as Ross answered for Canisius 33 seconds later, as he, too, came around the left side of the goal to sneak in a shot.

The Golden Griffins took their only lead of the contest at 2-1 when Brad Favero sent a bouncer from 10 yards out on the right side into the net with four minutes to go. Nechanicky evened the score with just seven ticks remaining in the opening stanza, as he found the back of the net from five yards out.

"The first quarter in particular was a possession game," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "I think we were pretty sloppy in the early stages of the game. We had our chance to score, but didn't, and I don't think we handled the three-minute penalty very well either."

Navy took a 3-2 lead when Looney hooked up with Mirabito for an extra-man strike at 6:22 in the second period. Unable to shake the Golden Griffins, rookie Michael Benzinger sent a shot from 10 yards out on the left side of the goal to the upper right-hand corner to post his first-collegiate goal.

The Mids, however, would take a 4-3 lead going into the half as Mirabito scored in transition off an assist from junior middie Terence Higgins (Chappaqua, N.Y.). That score would be the first of six unanswered goals for the Midshipmen, as they led Canisius 9-3 with 5:15 remaining in the third quarter.

Navy went on to give up one goal in each of the final two quarters to seal the victory.

"We had the chance to pull away a couple of times, but we just weren't able to do it," added Meade. "I think we did a good job of coming out in the third quarter and re-establishing the pace of the game. We struggled with face-offs in the first half, but (assistant coach) Ryan Moran was able to adjust what we do and did a better job."

Navy won just two of the nine face-offs in the opening half, but came back to claim eight of the 13 second-half draws. For the game, the Mids were 10 for 22 with William Wallace (Bloomfield Village, Mich.) finding the most success at 6 for 11.

In addition to the possession game, the Mids also found the clearing game to be a struggle.

"I felt like some of their early goals were a result of our inability to clear the ball," said Meade. "It's not something we've had a great deal of trouble with this year, but we got a little careless and it cost us."

Navy's defense came through once again, anchored by Finnegan who played another stellar game in goal where he made 10 saves, including seven in the second period.