Robert Morris vs. Canisius
April 8, 2008
The Game Story:
Freshman Greg Michael scored 1:09 into overtime to lift the Canisius College men’s lacrosse team to a 16-15 victory at Robert Morris. With the win, Canisius set a school record with its fifth-consecutive victory.

“It wasn’t much of a defensive battle today,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “Both offenses were executing real well and it showed in the final score. We had a lot of balance and we were just able to get one more goal than Robert Morris today.”

Junior Brandon Martin, who won 8-of-11 battles at the X on the day, won the lone faceoff in the overtime leading to Michael’s game-winning score. The rookie tallied his second goal of the afternoon off of a feed from freshman Adam Jones as Canisius broke the school record for consecutive victories, previously held by the 2001 team that opened the season with four-straight wins.

“Brandon Martin was great on faceoffs this afternoon,” Mearns said. “He won the faceoff in the overtime and we called a timeout. Coach Tocin designed a real nice play. Greg Michael was open and buried it. It feels good to get this overtime victory.”

Senior Michael Blocho (pictured) tallied four goals and became the 14th player in school history to record his 100th career point. Blocho has played in 49 games during his career, amassing 76 goals and 24 assists.

Jones led the Griffs’ offense, recording career high totals of seven points, four goals and three assists, while sophomore Alex Caldiero added a personal-best total of three goals. Senior Tom Hensel recorded five points on a goal and a career-best four assists. Senior Dave Schaefer and sophomore Michael Benzinger also netted a score for the Griffs. Freshman Nick LoCoco paced the Canisius attack, recording four assists on the afternoon.

Junior Bryan Jack recorded 15 saves in net to earn his first victory in his first start with the Griffs. Sophomore defender Matt Barkas picked up a team-best seven ground balls to help anchor the Canisius defense.

Robert Morris started the high-scoring affair with two goals less than two minutes into the contest. Jones would answer the Colonials with two goals of his own. After Robert Morris reclaimed its two-goal advantage at 4-2, the Griffs scored the next four goals, the last two of the first period and the opening two scores of the second frame. However, Robert Morris tallied four of the final five goals in the first half to head into intermission with an 8-7 advantage.

Caldiero led the Griffs’ (5-3) charge to open the second half, scoring two goals in the third period as Canisius outscored the Colonials, 4-0, in the quarter. The teams headed into the final period of regulation with Canisius holding an 11-8 lead but Robert Morris (4-8) scored the first four goals to reclaim the advantage, 12-11.

Blocho stopped the Robert Morris run, recording his 100th career point by netting a goal with 8:20 to knot the game at 12. His score started a 3-0 Canisius run that gave the Griffs a 14-12 advantage. Robert Morris pulled to within one, scoring with 4:47 left in regulation, but Schaefer responded with his first goal of the afternoon just 36 seconds later to stretch the Griffs’ lead back to two.

The Colonials did not give up and would once again pull to within one with 2:09 left in regulation. After a Canisius turnover, Robert Morris scored the equalizer with just 57 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Griffs won the ensuing faceoff but could not find the back of the net in regulation. Canisius eventually scored the game-winner in overtime to earn the victory.

The Griffs look to extend its school-record winning streak to six games when it faces Wagner on Saturday. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

Game Notes: The 31 goals are the most combined goals in a Canisius game since the Griffs lost to Butler to open the 2003 season, 19-14 … The Griffs improved to 8-4 all-time in overtime games … Canisius has won all four meetings against Robert Morris and beat the Colonials for the second-straight year in overtime … The Griffs also matched a school record by winning its third-consecutive road game. Canisius won its first three games away from home to open the 2001 season.