Scranton vs. Drew
March 27, 2010
The Game Story:
SCRANTON, Pa.-For the third time in four years, The University of Scranton suffered another heartbreaking loss to Drew University Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Field.

The Rangers pulled out a 6-5 victory by scoring two goals in the final two minutes of play after the Royals opening the fourth period with four straight goals to erase a 4-1 deficit. With the win, the Rangers improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the Landmark Conference while Scranton suffered its fifth straight loss to fall to 2-5 overall and 0-1 in league play.

Freshman attacker Sam Nepveux (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan) scored the game-winning goal with 20 seconds remaining after the Rangers successfully cleared the ball after a shot attempt by Scranton senior midfielder Doug Homan (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) was saved by Drew sophomore goalie Charlie DeSocio (Maplewood, N.J./Columbia). DeSocio replaced starter Brad Mendelson (Owings, Mill, Md./Park School) in the second half and finished with five saves.

For three periods, the Rangers kept Scranton's offense totally in check. The Royals managed only one goal-by sophomore midfielder Mike Rufo (Broomall, Pa./Haverford School), unassisted, midway through the second-after falling behind 1-0 after the first period and 3-1 by intermission.

Things look bleak for Scranton after Drew senior attacker Jon Bucknam (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) scored a goal off of a feed from sophomore defender Sean McGowan (Milltown, N.J./St. Joseph's) midway through the third period to extend the lead to 4-1.

As he has all season long, junior specialist Patrick Cefalu (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) provided a major spark by winning all seven of his face-off attempts in the fourth period, putting the Royals in position to stage a comeback.

Scranton cut the gap to 4-2 on an unassisted goal by junior midfielder Keenan Dowd (Binghamton, N.Y./Seton Catholic) before scoring twice-on unassisted goals by junior attackers Thomas Alati (Glen Ridge, N.J./Montclair Kimberly) and Robert Pantages (Roseland, N.J./West Essex)-within a span of 25 seconds three minutes later to tie the game at 4-4.

Following a Drew timeout, Cefalo won another face-off that eventually led to a goal by junior attacker Sean Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) on a play setup by junior midfielder Sean Milde (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) to give the Royals a 5-4 lead with 7:52 remaining.

With less than two minutes remaining, the Royals turned the ball over deep in their own territory and Ranger senior attacker Mike Sayers (Roseland, N.J./West Essex) scored his second goal of the game off of an assist from junior midfielder Ari Young (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) with 1:40 left to knot it at 5-5.

After Nepveaux game-winning goal, the Royals did get the ball back with seven seconds remaining deep in their own territory but were unable to get off a shot.

Mendelson finished with nine saves in 30 minutes of action while Scranton junior goalie Jeremy Dowiak (Hackettstown, N.J./West Morris) was credited with six saves in going the distance.

The Royals held a 37-22 advantage in shots and a 39-27 margin in ground balls, but Scranton failed to score on two extra-man opportunities and turned the ball over 20 times, including 13 in the second half.

Drew has now won the last six meetings and holds an 18-6 lead in the all-time series. Two years ago, the Rangers pulled out a 13-12 victory at Fitzpatrick Field on a goal by Ari Young with 30 seconds remaining. In 2007, Drew overcame a 7-6 halftime deficit to defeat the Royals, 15-13, also at Fitzpatrick Field.