Gettysburg vs. Denison
May 10, 2008
The Game Story:
GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Senior Ben Sufrin (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) drilled in the game-winning goal with 1:59 left in overtime and the No. 3-ranked Gettysburg College men’s lacrosse teams posted a thrilling comeback, rallying late to defeat No. 12 Denison University in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship Saturday afternoon at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium.

The Bullets (16-2) trailed for nearly the entire game, and the Big Red (14-3) led 7-6 with 3:41 left in regulation following a Rick Mackessy goal. But sophomore Joe Brody (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson), who had been shut out for nearly the opening 59 minutes, pulled Gettysburg even on a hard-charging goal with 1:03 on the clock.

Gettysburg, which snapped Denison’s 11-game winning streak, now moves on to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fifth year in a row. The Bullets will host the winner of the second-round game between No. 4 Lynchburg and No. 5 Washington (Md.) at a time to be announced on Wednesday. Lynchburg and Washington play on Sunday.

Sufrin finished with three goals, good for his fourth hat trick of the season, as did sophomore Kyle McGrath (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) who logged in third hat trick of the year and his second in his last three games. Junior Tom O'Donnell (Montgomeryville, Pa./La Salle College) dished out two assists while junior goalie Zachary Furshman (Miami, Fla./Kent School (Conn.)) finished with eight saves.

Brody’s goal gives him 46 for the season, which is tied for eighth on the school’s single-season list.

Mackessy led the Big Red with two goals and an assist while Brady Burton added two goals. Denison goalie Alex Baruch was outstanding, finishing with 13 stops.

After Mackessy’s final goal, Denison gained possession following a Baruch save with 1:57 left before calling timeout with 1:39 on the clock. But 13 seconds later, senior defenseman Andrew McGann (Laguna, Calif./Holderness (N.H.)) created a much-needed turnover, as he and classmate Stu Whelehan (Perry Hall, Md./Loyola Blakefield) converged on a Denison attacker and poked the ball loose. Whelehan came up with the ground ball and raced down the far sideline before the Bullets called timeout with 1:17 left, setting up Brody’s game-tying goal.

Gettysburg won the ensuing face-off, but threw the ball away on a clear attempt. Furshman then came up with a crucial save on a point-blank shot from Burton with 35 seconds left. After a Gettysburg turnover, Denison’s Jim Minor rolled a shot at the goal as time expired, but Furshman picked it up for his final save of the game.

In overtime, junior Tim Stanton (Phoenix, Md./Loyola Blakefield) won the opening face-off and came up with the ground ball before turning it over. Denison gave it right back to the Bullets however, when Mackessy threw the ball away. On the other end of the field, Sufrin ran it in from the top before letting loose with a shot from 10 yards out on the left, beating Baruch stick-side for his team-leading sixth game-winning goal of the season.

In the first half, Gettysburg was held to a season-low two goals, due in large part to Baruch’s nine saves, and the Big Red took a 3-2 lead into halftime. Junior Drew Duckworth (Rye, N.Y./Hotchkiss School (Conn.)) gave the Bullets their only lead before Sufrin’s game-winner when he took a pass from junior Zach Pucci (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) and scored just over five minutes into the game to make it 1-0. Mackessy tied it up with his first goal, connecting with 2:33 showing to make it a 1-1 game at the end of the opening quarter.

The Bullets out-shot Denison 12-2 over the first 15 minutes, but that’s when Baruch made six of his saves.

Neither team was able to generate much offense in the second quarter until Emmett Jones put Denison on top 2-1 when he scored on an extra-man opportunity with 3:36 left. However, McGrath answered right back for the Bullets, scooping up a ground ball off a face-off and rushing in to score his first goal of the afternoon.

Tanner Smith answered for the Big Red with another man-up goal, giving Denison a 3-2 halftime edge.

McGrath tied it up for Gettysburg, scoring just over three minutes into the second half, but the Big Red posted back-to-back goals to take the largest lead of the game (5-3) for either team. Burton scored with 9:13 left, and Dan Maude found the back of the net nearly five minutes later. Sufrin came up with a big goal just before the end of the quarter, however, taking an O’Donnell feed and scoring his first goal of the game, making it a 5-4 game with 1:09 left in the period.

McGrath tied the game for the second time, scoring just 24 seconds into the fourth quarter, before the teams traded goals twice. Burton’s second goal made it 6-5 in favor of the Big Red with 13:51 on the clock, but Sufrin had the answer for Gettysburg, taking a feed from O’Donnell and scoring with 6:10 left before Mackessy’s final tally.

Gettysburg finished with a 34-25 advantage in shots and held a 25-17 edge in ground balls. However, Denison won 11 of 19 face-offs. The two teams combined for 39 turnovers, with the Big Red coughing it up 22 times.

The Bullets improved to 3-0 all-time against Denison in the NCAA tournament. Gettysburg defeated the Big Red 13-7 in the 2001 semifinals and 11-10 in the 1994 quarterfinals.