The Ithaca Bombers mounted a relentless attack that didn't pay off until the fourth quarter in the form of four goals. The Cortland Red Dragons led all the way up to the 10:39 mark of the fourth quarter, but despite goalie Steve Feltmann standing on his head(17 saves), they could not hold the Bombers down the stretch. Cortland moves to 5-5 while Ithaca stays undefeated at 8-0.
The game looked like a junior event at times with as many as ten players fighting over the ball due to a very soggy field. However, there was nothing junior about the hits that came out of these scrums. Ithaca was pressing the issue on defense as well as offense all day, but they didn't hit paydirt until the last quarter. On defense the Bombers were chasing Cortland all over the field no matter how far away they ran. In fact, it seemed like at times the Red Dragons were desperately trying to step the ball back in the restraining box to avoid the ten second rule before running back out. On offense, Ithaca attacked unpatiently at first forcing the ball inside with obvious results. The Red Dragons played smart team defense doubling quickly and not allowing anyone inside, but they played a lot of defense and perhaps it wore them out in the end. Actually, considering the shots were 40-19 in favor of Ithaca, the reason this game was such a thriller is sophomore goalie Steve Feltmann. He was absolutely insane. Feltmann, in addition to 17 saves, picked off a couple of passes and played out of goal very well as he actually switched hands and threw with his week side at times.
Cortland started the scoring quickly at the 14:01 mark of the first quarter. Who knew it would be the last goal of the quarter. Ithaca defenseman Glenn Palmieri had a sweet over the head check on middie Chris Magrin at the restraining line, but his failure to clear led to an unsettled situation. Cortland banged the ball to "X" and quickly moved it in front of the cage. Brendan Konen hit Magrin for a fifteen yard bounce shot that beat goalie Ryan Martin, 1-0. Ithaca came down the field on the ensuing face, but forced a pass inside that went to the ground and the other way. Cortland tried to move the ball around the perimeter while The bigger Ithaca defense hounded them. Play went up and down the field as the attackers were having difficulty making strong moves to the goal due to a soaked field. Ithaca had an opportunity to even the score when Rob McCurdy took a slashing penalty. They went to a diamond with two on the crease. Eric Bernheim got his shot, but Feltman gobbled it up and cleared successfully to kill the penalty. Feltmann then stuffed Josh Marksberry on a fast break. Ithaca established a huge possession edge, but the score remained 1-0.
Two trends had developed early that stayed consistent on Ithaca's offense. The first was that middie Dennis Juleff was having no problem beating his defender from the top. Cortland did a great job of sliding to him early, and Juleff was unable to find the open man. The second was that attackmen Nick Ayers was able to drive from behind to his left about five or six yards above goal line extended before turning one way or the other and shooting. It was a dangerous shot when he got it off, but Feltmann turned three of them away in the first.
Actually, Ayers patented move was good for drawing a penalty in the second quarter to put Ithaca man-up for the second time. They had two across the restraining line, three across the crease and one at "X". When the ball hit behind everyone crashed the goal and with nothing open the ball was moved back to the top. The pass to hit man sneaking around from "X" was deflected and Cortland cleared for the kill. The Bombers tied the game up at the 3:09 mark when Morris Jemal was working behind the cage. He drove laterally to his left and hit a cutting Sam Griffo who caught the ball about ten yards out to Feltmann's left. He took a quick shot to the lower left corner to finally beat the hot goaltender, 1-1. The Red Dragon's snatched the lead back with 1:51 in the half. In transition middie Derek Elvin was able to maneuver down the center of the field with heavy pressure on his back. He was able to protect his stick long enough to get a falling down bounce shot that ripped the upper left corner, 2-1. The half ended with a dominating possession time by Ithaca, but a 2-1 lead by Cortland.
The second half started out the same way. The ball was on the ground a lot and it went up and down with an occasional brilliant save by Feltmann and Cortland seemingly running the clock when they were on offense. At 11:05 Ithaca went man-up for the third time. Again, Feltmann saved the high hard shot from outside. With 2:43 left in the third quarter Cortland struck again. On a delayed penalty, they worked the ball inside the box for what seemed an eternity. Rather than play solid six-on-six defense, human nature took over and Ithaca over extended themselves out of position. They worked it to "X" and with three quick passes were able to move it up and around to Andrew Roth who had time and room. He launched an righty overhand shot that beat Ryan Martin high from about 12 yards out.
Bomber attackman Nick Ayers came out firing with two great shots from point blank range, but once again Feltmann was stellar. At around the 11:40 mark the officials were telling Cortland to keep the ball in the box as they were perceived to be stalling. The goal that actuall got things rolling for Ithaca was a cheapy. After all those great stops by Feltmann, Paul Wierzbieniec threw a pass from the top that nicked Sam Griffo's stick and slipped in the goal, 3-2. Only seconds later, feltmann was up to his old tricks as Bomber Brian Pilger cranked one in a fast break situation from the top righty spot. Cortland turned the ball over on the clear however, and Ayers was off to the races all alone with Feltmann and wasted no time making it a tie game, 3-3. At 9:20 Ithaca went man-up again, but Cortland was able to eat up much of the penalty. When Ithaca did get the ball back on offense they were able to get it to Juleff who danced around in the middle before getting a bounce shot past Feltmann to give the Bombers their first lead of the day. Finally, at 8:18 Ayers pulled his patented move for the seventh or eight time of the day and converted. He drove from "X" to his left and established position with some angle on the goal before turning and shooting. He beat Feltmann to make the final score 5-3. Down the stretch Cortland had a couple of opportunities, but good defense and a solid stuffing of Brendan Konen by goalie Ryan Martin kept the score the same.
|Derek Elvin||(1, 0)|
|Rusty Schneiderman||(0, 1)|
|Brendan Konen||(0, 1)|
|Andrew Roth||(1, 0)|
|Chris Magrin||(1, 0)|
|Steve Feltmann||17 (0.773)|