Stevens Tech vs. Ithaca
April 25, 2009
The Game Story:
HOBOKEN, N.J. (April 25, 2009) – The Stevens Institute of Technology men’s lacrosse team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but the fourth-ranked Ithaca College Bombers scored seven of the next nine goals en route to a thrilling 11-10 victory on Saturday night in front of a huge crowd at the De Baun Athletic Complex. Stevens will now move on to the Empire 8 Championship semifinals on Friday afternoon. Stevens, the second seed in the four-team tournament, will host third-seeded St. John Fisher College at 4 p.m. in Hoboken.

The Ducks started the game on fire, tallying three goals in the first 3:15 of game time. Freshman Alex Hofrichter Cincinnatti, Ohio) tallied the first goal of the game thanks to a gorgeous feed from senior J.R. Oreskovich 48 seconds in. Seniors Eric Smith
and Alex Heckman tallied scores two and three.

Ithaca stopped the bleeding and responded with three-straight to knot the game at three apiece with 3:19 left in the first, but Oreskovich put the Ducks on top 4-3 with 1:32 left in the quarter.

Senior Matt Keating found net after a feed from Oreskovich with 7:57 remaining in the half to give Stevens a two-goal lead but the Bombers answered with a 4-0 run to take a 7-5 edge into the break. Kevin Bush (St. George Island, Fla.) scored twice in the spurt.

Keating tallied again 8:16 into the third quarter to make it a one-goal game (7-6), but once again, the Bombers had the answer. This time it was Matt Cutter (Needham, Mass.) who did the damage, scoring twice. Keating was able to net his third of the contest to make it 9-7 with 2:16 to go in the third, but Mike Silipo (Deerfield, Mass.) found net 1:04 later to push the Ithaca lead back to three.

Hofrichter scored one minute into the fourth to bring Stevens within two, and the Ducks defense was able to hold Ithaca (14-1, 7-1 Empire 8) at bay for the next 10:03 as junior Alex Couture tallied to make it a 10-9 game with 3:57 to play. Couture’s goal was set up by a nice look from Smith.

Bush delivered a dagger with 2:33 remaining, but Hofrichter was able to bring the Ducks back within one at 11-10 with 20 seconds left. The goal was set up by sophomore goalkeeper Dave Decker who took the ball all the way up the field and delivered a perfect strike to Hofrichter who was streaking in on an angle from the left side.

The Ducks won the ensuing face-off but were not able to get a clean look at the net in the final 10 seconds, and the Bombers hung on for the thrilling win.

Decker was strong in goal, making a career-high 22 saves in the loss. His counterpart, sophomore David Gal (Amherst, Mass.), also played well, stopping 15 shots.

Hofrichter and Keating finished with three goals apiece and Oreskovich had four points on a goal and three assists. Sophomore Brandon Faubert won 7-of-11 face-offs and picked up a game-high eight ground balls. Sophomore Zach McHugh caused four turnovers and scooped up three ground balls, and sophomore Ted Pfeifer picked up two ground balls in addition to causing four turnovers. Both Couture and Smith finished with a goal and an assist.

Ithaca ended with a 47-45 edge in shots and a 33-32 edge in ground balls. The Bombers won 13-of-22 face-offs and neither team scored on its man-up chances. Ithaca converted 15-of-17 clear attempts while the Ducks converted 17-of-23.

Stevens will host St. John Fisher College in the Empire 8 Championship semifinals on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the De Baun Athletic Complex. The Ducks beat Fisher 8-7 several weeks back. For those unable to attend, the contest will be webcast live at www.Empire8.tv. The winner will then move on and play the winner of Ithaca and Nazareth College on Sunday at the highest remaining seed.

Stevens, the longest running lacrosse program in the country, celebrated 125 years of lacrosse before and after the game. Alumni as far back as the Class of 1942 came back to join in the festivities.