DeBolt took the face and sent it back to Howell. After a little tip-toeing on the restraining line, the Irish managed to push it up the wing. Bucknell goalie Justin Sussman got tested immediately off the clear and he passed, smothering a righty bouncer with a decent angle. On the next trip down (after some wild Bison passes) Bishko tried to duck under his man from the left wing, but a crushing slide came from the pipe which floored him and popped out a loose ball for Bucknell to break on. The Bison had a step on the transition, but a sloppy pass across on the 4-3 break (the point man had a ND longstick from the box on his back) and it was headed the other way again. More sloppy throws on the part of both teams occupied the next couple of minutes until they both seemed to ease into their normal flows.
Bucknell's Cheng controlled at the top of the box against a shorty for their first real possession. Notre Dame felt comfortable using shortsticks DeBolt and Bishko on Cheng because, to put it nicely, Cheng ain't the fastest guy in the world. And it worked -- Cheng couldn't force the Irish into sliding on a backup. After a questionable drive into a double team around the right pipe, Bucknell lost the ball to the Irish, and some up and down middle of the field play ensued. Bucknell won the ground ball wars and moved it to Cheng. Cheng again didn't even make Debolt sweat, and Howell gobbled up a 5-hole rocket after Cheng moved it and Bucknell fed it across the hole to the top shooter's corner.
Sussman came under some more fire when Notre Dame brought it down on the clear -- he stoned a quick stick from the crease on a nice look to Bucknell's soft underbelly, but threw it over the wrong shoulder on the middie breaking on the clear. More fire when Kevin Smithies got nabbed for an on-the-head after Todd Ulrich whirled through a double up top, but Bucknell held strong on ND's stick fakes and quick dekes. Bishko fired wide as the middie was released from half field and the EMO was over.
Notre Dame's offense was looking sharp - great movement on and off ball, really quick, and incredible stickwork - but Bucknell sticks were active in the middle, they anticipated passes and slides well, and they didn't lose body position easily. It was a draw so far, but how long it would remain that way looked to be inversely proportional to Notre Dame's time of possession (and that wasn't looking good for Bucknell).
The Irish finally started the scoring when Dave Ulrich redirected one to the upper left on a cross-crease bullet from Glatzel with 3:00 left in the 1st. Notre Dame had forced the bison to slide adjacent on a drive to the wing, and then on a skipped pass up top forced a slide from the crease -- Bucknell then ran out of slides when it was whipped down to Glatzel on Sussman's left shoulder. Bucknell won the face and took a full timeout. A Howell deflection later, and the Irish cleared after some tough pressure on the endline from the Bison attack. Bucknell tied it up (clearly to the delight of most of the fans here) when Juelis scooped up a loose ball near his restraining line and took it coast to coast, face dodging the whole way. He broke inside Notre Dame's box and backhanded a little dump to Kelly Hogue when the slides flew up. Hogue ripped to the upper left from a couple yards out. There was just :19 left in the first.
The second started with a well-timed Sussman stuff on a nice give and go between David Ulrich and Flandina -- Ulrich had pumped it to Flandina cutting across when Ulrich got doubled on the corner and the slide failed to come down from the top left, but they would take another shot at it and succeed. Bishko from Glatzel for a 2-1 lead after the Sussman stuff led to a free for all on the rebound and Glatzel grabbed the garbage. Just like before, Bucknell tied it up a couple of seconds later when Cheng ripped it from the righty shooter's spot and Howell grabbed his face mask in disbelief.
More firepower. Flandina ripped one the next time down for a 3-2 lead and almost immediately after Devin Ryan widened the lead when he drove the right pipe and squeaked a no angle burner by Sussman at the 12:00 mark. Coach Jamieson then took a 20 second time-out to calm the Bison down and let them regroup.
ND controlled on offense for about the next 3 minutes until David Ulrich grabbed it behind right and started to curl around righty. He stopped on a dime and inside rolled on Treacher. Treacher looked to get enough of a push to force Ulrich into the crease, but Ulrich powered through and leaned in low to deflect it off of Sussman's leg and into the back of the net. 5-2 Notre Dame. Glatzel looked to have pushed the lead even farther on the next series when bulled out of a roll on the left pipe and backed in to stick one, but he apparently had a toe in the crease and it headed the other way.
It wouldn't hurt then all that much because just a couple of minutes later, with 5:00 to go in the half, Glatzel was calmly leaning in on Juelis at the top of the box (all afternoon, Glatzel had a Jordan-like coolness about him), drop stepped and threaded it lefty to Todd Ulrich on the crease with his back to the goal. Ulrich grabbed it down low and turned to the outside to rip it top shelf. All of sudden, it was 7-2 Notre Dame when Glatzel took off on a streak to his right from the top of the box and nailed a low rip that beat Sussman to the stick side.
Loesch delivered the face for Bucknell, but after a force into the crease would have normally given it back to the Irish, the Bison drew a man-up when Notre Dame's Mike Adams delivered a cross check in the middle of the resulting ground ball fight. It went for nothing when Bucknell cranked it wide from top right and Howell beat it out to the endline.
Another man-up for Bucknell would end the half when Bishko was flagged for a push in the back, but Howell was quick to react on Cheng's five-hole overhand after Bucknell sent it around the horn in a 2-3-1. Notre Dame chucked a Gilman and time ran out on the 2nd. The Irish were in complete control with a 7-2 lead and it looked like it could get a lot worse. Bucknell's attack was not even giving the Irish a worry -- they couldn't get a step on anyone. Meanwhile, Notre Dame was slowly eating away at Bucknell's resilient defense -- the pressure the Irish put on them was immense.
The 3rd started with Notre Dame on the EMO after Smithies doled out a late hit. They took advantage of it when Chris Young ripped it unassisted just :40 into the 2nd half.
Bucknell would close it to 8-3 when Fetchet took a cross field pass just behind the pipe to Howell's right and turned the corner with authority. He buried it high and to the corner. It was one of the few times that Notre Dame looked to beaten with pure athleticism.
But the juice was still flowing with the Irish offense. Glatzel came down and pulled off some one on one magic when he rockered on the pipe and rolled underneath, but got thrown to the turf when he turned into the middle. Glatzel found Young on another nifty feed from up top after pulling up on a rip. Young turned and buried it low for the 9-3 lead. Glatzel was doing a great job recognizing when Bucknell defenders lost track of any men underneath them. He waited to make eye contact with the defenders, then dumped it to guys right behind them with their backs to the goal. And the guys with their backs to the goal always did a great job of turning to the outside and avoiding the slides from the middle.
Fetchet notched another for the Herd when took it behind left and made a beeline for Howell's right pipe. Adams would have had solid position coverage on him, but he went for a handful of behind the neck dink checks that allowed Fetchet to turn his shoulders and get an angle. Fetchet dropped his stick and burned Howell by the ankles.
One more tallie for Bucknell (it was now 9-5) followed when Lane picked the pipe on a feed from Cheng. ND took a full timeout right afterwards to regroup. Bucknell gave Notre Dame a little trouble on the subsequent ride after a turnover when they pressured the top corners (which was the route Notre Dame was taking for most of the afternoon), but they really gave them pressure when the Irish settled -- Smithies, Treacher, and Juelis were sliding like crazy with sticks ablazin'. It was really fun to watch, it's just a shame that they had to play so much defense that it looked put a major drain on them.
Notre Dame started the fourth in the same fashion as the third -- John Harvey finished a Todd Ulrich feed for a 10-5 lead just one minute or so in. I guess the Irish like striking in bunches -- they made it 11-5 when Bishko hit with a running lefty crank which he started at the top of the box, fended off stick on his elbow, but still burned it by Sussman. 12-5 Notre Dame when Harvey drove around lefty from behind and pulled off a perfect inside roll just as his defender turned his shoulders to run with him. Harvey went straight for the near pipe, stuck it, and then got buried by the slide. Bucknell was now breaking down on the relentless challenges that Notre Dame's quick feet threw at them, something the Bison stood up to for most of the game. Jamieson sensed it and called for a full timeout.
Dennis Geraghty got on the board for Bucknell on a nice spin through a closing double team, which he grabbed on an feed underneath from up top to make it 12-6. The Irish held on to the ball for a considerable amount after that (I wouldn't call it stall-ball though), with Glatzel, Bishko, and Dave Ulrich controlling. Glatzel almost pulled off another beauty of an inside roll (he even looked stronger than his defenseman) and bull dodge to the front of the net, but he was again in the crease before the ball.
With just :40 seconds left Bucknell grabbed one for the stat book when Fetchet buried one off of a Rob Lane feed for the 12-7 final. And Hopkins' defense now has a lot of work cut out for them.
Notre Dame vs. Bucknell