Navy Downs UNC 9-8 In 4 OT's

Navy Downs UNC 9-8 In 4 OT's

Navy Downs UNC 9-8 In 4 OT's

Navy Downs UNC 9-8 In 4 OT's

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy senior attackman Eddy Holton (Northport, N.Y.) scored the game-winning goal as nearly 3,000 fans stormed the field in the No. 14 Mids' (3-0) 9-8 four-overtime victory against ninth-ranked North Carolina (1-1) Friday night at Rip Miller Field. It was the fourth-consecutive game between Navy and Carolina decided by one goal and the third time in four years it turned into an overtime affair. The previous three games were decided by an 11-10 count in North Carolina's favor.

"Beating a program that we haven't beaten in three years is big," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "What this means for the rest of the season is hard to predict, but I can tell you that winning is better than losing."

"Our guys deserved this," Meade remarked. "We had great support tonight from our fans. This was one of the greatest crowds that we have played in front of since I've been here." North Carolina looked as if it could blow open the game early, taking a 2-0 lead just eight minutes into the game on goals by attackmen Jed Prossner and Andrew Lucas.

Navy, though, regrouped, and knotted the score by the end of the first period, including a goal by senior midfielder Kelly Nash (Annapolis, Md.) with 25 second remaining in the first stanza.

Senior midfielder Ben Bailey (Memphis, Tenn.) scored back-to-back goals for the Mids in the second period, giving Navy a 4-2 lead with six minutes to play in the half. Junior middie Dan Eddy (Tully, N.Y.) increased Navy's lead to 5-2 on a goal with 4:04 left on the clock.

An unassisted score by Mike McCall with 3:24 left in the second period stopped Navy's scoring frenzy at five straight and got the Tar Heels to within a pair heading into halftime.

The third period saw a defensive stance by both squads. Carolina^Òs Bryant Will scored with 4:56 remaining in the quarter on an unassisted goal, but Navy freshman Jon Birsner (Levittown, N.Y.) answered 55 seconds later to give Navy a 6-4 edge at the end of three periods.

The Tar Heels dominated the fourth quarter, scoring four goals - the first two and last of the 15-minute session. Prossner got things going for UNC right away, scoring his second-consecutive hat trick with back-to-back scores to knot the game at six apiece.

Not to be outdone, Navy freshman attack Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.) turned in back-to-back unassisted goals to put Navy up by two, 8-6, with 5:33 remaining in the fourth.

Carolina's Scott Falatach found Kyle Bell from way outside to inch the Tar Heels back to within one, 8-7, with 2:25 to play. But it was Lucas who sent the game into extra minutes, as he found the back of the Navy net with three tenths of a second remaining in regulation.

UNC dominated the face-off category all night, winning 16 of the 23 taken, including all four in the overtime periods. After a missed UNC shot, Navy cleared the ball and got into its offense set. Dingman curled behind the goal and found a streaking Holton towards the top right side of the box. Holton immediately launched the game-winner, the first of his career, to give the Mids their third win of the season.

Navy keeper Seth DiNola (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) warded off a career-high 12 shots, including one in each of the last-two overtime periods. Paul Spellman stopped 10 Navy shots, including one in the final OT period. "Seth DiNola played extremely well tonight," said Meade. 'Our goal was to hold them under 10 and we accomplished that."

The Midshipmen are back in action next Saturday when they travel north to face Massachusetts in their first ECAC competition of the year. The Minutemen are the defending ECAC champions and have beaten Navy two-straight years.

"We are thrilled to get this win, but we have UMASS next weekend," said Meade. "But I said several times last year after a tough loss that we had to put it behind us and focus on the next game and we have to do the same thing after a big win." Game time is set for 12-Noon.

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