|SMITHFIELD, RI - Jim Long (Durham, NH) scored 2:21 into overtime to lead the Bryant University men's lacrosse team to a 9-8 win over Merrimack College in a Northeast-10 Conference semifinal game at a rain-soaked Bulldog Stadium Friday afternoon. Bryant, the No. 2 seed, will advance to the conference championship game for the second consecutive year where they will face top-seed Le Moyne in Syracuse, NY starting at noon.|
Bryant (13-3) took advantage of a Merrimack error in the final minute to help force overtime. The Warriors (12-4), took an 8-7 lead on a goal by Christopher Elia with 6:53 left. The lead would hold until the final minute. Bryant, looking for the equalizer, came up short as Cory Spinale (23 saves) came with a big stop on Bryant's Kevin Hoagland (Glastonbury, CT) with 36 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing Merrimack possession and needing only to run out the clock to preserve the win, Warrior defenseman Shane Mahar launched an errant pass the length of the field where the Bulldogs were able to recover. With time winding down, Matt McKeefrey (Melville, NY) fed sniper Bryan Kaufman (Putnam Valley, NY) alone in front for a one-timer past Spinale, tying the game at 8-8 with 18 seconds remaining.
In the overtime and momentum back on their side, the Bulldogs gained advantage by another face-off win by Andrew Hennessey (Wading River, NY) and after two missed shots on the Warrior net, Long came through, taking a pass across the crease to Long 20 yards out on the right and ripped the game-winner past Spinale sending the Bulldogs on their way to the finals.
Kaufmann finished with three goals on the afternoon with Long and Hoagland each netting a pair. Hennessey finished the game winning 16 of 21 face-offs and adding a career-best 11 ground balls.