It was all Army in the beginning and the end, but Bucknell was able to string together enough goals in the middle to defeat their Patriot League foes. The Army Black Knights used a blue collar approach as they out-hustled and out-chanced their counterpart Bucknell Bison, but the Bison were able to capitalize more efficiently on opportunities. The game took on many faces but in the end it was a happy face for the Bison and a sad one for the Cadets.
Army possessed the ball for almost the entire first quarter, but were only able to score three goals. They were able to keep control with hustle on ground balls and a ride that forced Bucknell to cough it up time and time again. The Cadets’ off-ball offense was rather stagnant which allowed longpoles Kevin Smithies, Brian Treacher, and JC Metivier anticipate and slide early. (If the player you’re covering isn’t moving you can spend more time watching the guy with the ball.) The result was even if Army attackers got a step on their defender there was somebody in their face immediately making it impossible for them to get a pass off. With time running out in the fourth quarter and Bucknell up 11-6 Army had no other choice but to become frantic. The result was more movement which opened everything up. This led to four goals before time ran out on the Cadets.
On the other side of the field the Bison offense was rather smooth when they actually did possess the ball making some pretty plays. Their offensive players use change of speed really well and overall looked more polished than Army. Dennis Geraghty led the team with five goals, but the smoothest guy on the field today was attackman Andrew Sanders. At 5’9” and 165 lbs. he looks like the wind might get the best of him, but his stick protection and footwork are fun to watch as he makes defenders miss. On the Army side, Tim Pearson was the quarterback of his team looking much like butter as well.
In between the pipes Justin Sussman was solid again with 14 saves while his counterpart Dominik Nogic made 8. Sussman outplayed Nogic, but that’s not to say Nogic had a bad day by any stretch of the imagination.
Off the opening face-off the Bucknell longpole got the ball and ran it behind Army’s net, but when that fizzled the Bison would have to wait five minutes before they were on offense again. Army attacked and Bucknell defended, but after two failed clearing attempts Army drew first blood. Brook Hilton drove from top to bottom to his left and with angle dwindling ripped one on the run that dribbled by Sussman off his leg, 1-0. Bucknell had a fast break around six minutes into the game and got off a rip from the righty top crank spot. Army goalie Dominik Nogic gobbled up the high shot and turned it the other way. Again, Army continued to attack for what seemed an eternity while Bucknell defended and failed to clear. At the 8:12 mark Hilton struck again taking his man to the right this time. He got a step and after the over the head check missed he was able to take five more steps and beat Sussman to the far low lefthand corner before the slide arrived, 2-0. At this point Bucknell had spent all of about 20 seconds on offense, but as would ring true all day they buried there opportunities. At 4:58 Bison middie Andrew Copelan drove down the right side and quickly dumped to Dennis Geraghty who was standing 3 yards out on goal line extended where he quicked one by Nogic’s ear, 2-1. Shortly after, a similar play occurred on the opposite side, but Nogic replied with the customary,”No soup for you.” Before the quarter was over Army middie Mike Kamon was able to roll dodge his man from the top right to beat his man before beating Sussman, 3-1.
The second quarter started out a little better for the Bison. Super smooth Andrew Sanders lured his man behind the goal off to the goalies right about fifteen yards. He rolled on him and took it to the cage and just as he was being pushed from behind into the crease he snuck one by Nogic, 3-2. The Bison scored their goals in bunches all day. The next goal was within a minute as the Bison won the ensuing face-off and were peppering Nogic with shots. Finally, in the middle of chaos Sanders hit Geraghty in tight for a quick stick, 3-3. The next couple of minutes were penalty filled with no results offensively. At th 11:31 mark Army middie Colin Burke threw a lob pass that was either deflected or an incredible timing play that landed in a streaking Brook Hilton’s stick. He got rid of it quickly to put Army up 4-3. Fourteen seconds later Bucknell answered with a Kelly Hogue goal, 4-4. The Bison took their first lead of the game with their next goal. Bison middie Andrew Copelan split dodged his defender leaving him motionless. This allowed him to take a few steps in and launch one by Nogic unmolested. Army’s quarterback Tim Pearson made a great feed from fifteen yards behind the goal to the goalies’ right. John Fernandez was standing on the opposite side with five yards of angle and that’s all he needed as he hit the upper right hand corner, 5-5. Bucknell got a break off the next face-off on a questionable call and cashed it in. It was a sweet tic tac toe play. It started up top and was banged down to Chris Cutillo standing to Nogic’s right all alone who hit Geraghty across the crease for a lazy empty netter, 6-5. Army’s Mike Kamon came back and ripped one by Sussman when he was fed cross field from about five yards inside the restraining line, 6-6. At the 6:27 mark Bucknell was man-up again, and again they cashed in. First they whacked Nogic in the face mask with one and while he was still dazed they got the rebound and hit Geraghty who hit the back of the net, 7-6. It would be all Bucknell for a while starting with that goal. 26 seconds later Brian Loesh got a step on his defender off the face-off. With everyone in transition he was able to easily get a shot off that beat Nogic, 8-6. Army had another man-up opportunity when Bison defender Kevin Smithies took a smart holding penalty as army had numbers. They could not cash in.
The third quarter was one both teams would like to forget. Everyone was missing the net with their shots and the sloppy play led to some chippy play and some late hits. At 11:11 Bison Rob Lane added to the lead, 9-6. At 6:28 and 6:13 Bucknell took consecutive penalties. With Army up two men Jimmy Vlahakis decided to face dodge his man. He got off a weak shot and the Cadets once again failed to convert.
The fourth quarter started out slow, but Bucknell was able to add two more goals in the process. Geraghty and Sanders were responsible and it looked like it was going to play out lame. But wait, Army still had life left. As mentioned before, the started playing desperate and the motion of all players involved led to chances left and right. At 5:31 middie John Ryan wound up behind the cage and fed Dino Cotilletta on the crease for a slam dunk, 11-7. Do you believe?
Shortly after Cotilletta ripped another shot that Sussman bested, but the two foot rebound was snatched by Vlahakis and buried, 11-8. You’ve got to believe. Chaos ensued off the next face-off, but when Army finally got control they called timeout. They came out of it and worked the ball for a solid minute before Vlahakis hit Cotilletta on the crease for another dunk, 11-9. Army longstick Josh Kutxman led another rush but his shot was wide of the cage. The pace was insane at his point with players going nuts. Vlahakis was calm enough to stand behind and hit Pearson who was about fifteen out to Sussman’s left. As his defender lunged he faced him and beat Sussman, 11-10. Then came the heartbreaker. Army middie Dan Golini had the ball outside the restrining line with only seconds left. He was moving from his left to right and had time to survey the field, but was determined to move it to the guy on the right. The only problem was that man was covered and two Army attackers waited to his left wide open. Oh well, so close, but so far away. What a great ending. Everybody's heart rate, player and fan alike, was at a fever pitch.
Army vs. Bucknell
|Dennis Geraghty||(5, 0)|
|Andrew Sanders||(2, 1)|
|Andrew Copelan||(1, 1)|
|John Terracciano||(0, 1)|
|Mark Juelis||(0, 1)|
|Chris Cutillo||(0, 1)|
|Michael Cheng||(0, 1)|
|Brian Loesch||(1, 0)|
|Rob Lane||(1, 0)|
|Kelly Hogue||(1, 0)|