Annapolis Md- Tim Paul, Brendan Connors, and Bruce Nechanicky each scored twice to lead the twelfth ranked Navy Midshipmen to an 8-6 victory over Ohio State in front of 2,554 fans at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The game proved to be a battle of opposing teams attackmen as Navy received seven out of their eight goals from their attack, while all six OSU goals came from their attack. The Navy Midshipmen improve to 2-0 on the season, while extending their series advantage to 5-1, against the Buckeyes.
Navy came out firing on all cylinders early in the first quarter, but OSU goaltender Brandon Freeman refused to give up the first goal of the contest posting three key saves early on. Freemen used a quick outlet pass up and over Navy's attack setting up a four on three fast break in which OSU attackmen Jeff Ryan cashed in on for the first goal of the game. Just seconds later the home team crowd began to chant “Cheater! Cheater! Cheater!” as Ryan was called for an illegal stick. The goal was wiped out and Navy's offense took the field for a three minute unreleasable extra man opportunity. OSU knocked down a pass early and killed two minutes of the penalty before the midshipmen got the ball back. With two seconds left in the penalty Navy's Tim Paul found Pat Moran on the doorstep for an easy dunk. Tim Paul working from up top on their 3-3 extra man offense threw a no look pass to Moran on the right side pipe to take the early lead.
The midshipmen would strike two more times before the end of the first quarter to take a 3-0 first quarter lead. With 4:10 remaining in the first quarter Navy's Tim Paul took advantage of an OSU botched clear taking a defender one on one before the ball was driven deep into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. Just two minutes later a driving Andy Warner found a wide open Brendan Connors who ripped a lefty scorcher top shelf to give the Midshipmen a three goal cushion.
The Buckeyes came out fired up in the second quarter ripping off three straight goals, two of which came from OSU attackmen Joel Delgarno. OSU's James Green initiated from up top sweeping right finding a cutting Jeff Ryan for the goal, this time with a legal stick. Ryan was not done yet as he assisted Delgarno on his first goal of the afternoon just two minutes later. Driving from X Ryan found Delgarno coming off a pick as he fired a lefty side arm around Navy's defender to close the Midshipmen lead to 3-2. Delgarno would knot the score at three just minutes later off another feed from OSU midfielder James Green. Of the backside mumbo Green set up Delgarno for a seven yard lefty worm burner which slipped past Navy's goalie Matt Coughlin.
With the score knotted at three both teams were eager to take the lead going into halftime. OSU rattled off a few quick shots all thwarted by goalie Matt Coughlin. Back at the other end Navy took their fair share of shots as well while finding similar results as the OSU Goalkeeper put up a brick wall before giving up a rebound goal to Navy Attackmen Brendan Connors. Connors scooped up a deflected shot right on the OSU door step jamming it home to take a 4-3 lead with five minutes remaining in the half. Off the ensuing face-off Navy's Andy Warner punched in another extending the Mids lead back to two with four minutes left in the half. Andy dodged hard from the left side beating his defender inside striking an upper shelf stunner past OSU Goalie Brandon Freeman. With a minute remaining in the first half it would appear as if Navy would enter the lockeroom with a two goal cushion. OSU's Mario Ventiquattro had something different in mind as he slipped one in with three seconds remaining in the half. Ventiquattro took a feed from Delgarno as he snuck backside driving up from X sneaking one past Navy's Coughlin to cut the lead to 5-4 going into halftime.
Once again Navy came out with something to prove in the second half as they scored two quick goals extending their lead to 7-4. None other then Navy's Andy Warner who dealt out a career high three assists, found a naked Tip Paul on the doorstep for an easy dunk. Just two minutes later after breaking his defenders ankles Navy's Shane Durkin found a curling Bruce Nechanicky setting up the Good Counsel High School connection once again for the goal.
OSU refused to let the game slip away as Joel Delgarno took the team on his back and scored his third goal of the afternoon. Delgarno drove from the lefty wing baiting defenders with his nifty stick as he took it through the entire Navy defense before pumping in a shot over the shoulder of Navy's Matt Coughlin. Once again with time winding down in the third quarter OSU looked to their clutch time player Mario Ventiquattro for the answer. With one second remaining in the third quarter Jeff Ryan found Navy's defense sleeping as he hit Ventiquattro inside for a quick stick goal.
The crowd was on their feet for the start of the fourth quarter ready for another nail bighting thriller with Navy leading 7-6. The fourth quarter was a back and forth battle with stellar play from both goalies. The crowd gasped every time OSU took a shot some hoping for a save while others hoping for a miraculous tying goal. The gasps turned to a thunderous roar as Navy Attackmen Bruce Nechanicky took a feed from Andy Warner shooting a behind the back goal to seal the victory for the midshipmen.
Navy's defense turned in a stellar performance on the afternoon holding the Buckeyes extra man offense scoreless and shutting out the OSU offense in the first and fourth quarters.
The Midshipmen return to action next Friday when they travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to face North Carolina. Ohio State will be back in action next Saturday home against Bucknell.
Navy vs. Ohio State