After being stunned by two late goals in the loss to George Washington, the Bison found themselves trailing Navy 3-2 at the half. Bucknell had pumped in 20 goals against the Midshipmen when the two teams met in Annapolis two weeks ago, and this time the Bison found their offensive rhythm in a decisive seven-goal third quarter.
Joksimovic had a hand in five of those goals, scoring three and assisting on two others. His feed to classmate Cooper Dolan with 1:04 left in the quarter gave Bucknell a 9-4 lead. Navy (6-9, 1-6) got as close as three at 12-9 on a 5-meter penalty shot by Taylor Peterson with 3:11 remaining, but back-to-back goals by Dolan and Joksimovic put the game away.
It was an impressive performance for Dolan who entered the night with seven goals on the season but finished with three goals and an assist against the Midshipmen. Sean Daley added two goals and two assists, Ratimir Babic had a goal and two assists, and Tommy Stupp was credited with a pair of helpers.
Bucknell’s first contest of the day was a defensive struggle for three quarters, then featured a wild finish, with nine goals coming in the fourth quarter, including four in the final 85 seconds.
Joksimovic’s sixth goal of the game gave the Bison an 8-6 lead with 3:56 to go. George Washington (8-4, 5-1) countered with a 6-on-5 goal from its own Serbian star, Bogdan Petkovic. Then Pierce Deamer scored with a nifty backhand shot that barely crept over the line with 1:25 to go, tying the game for the first time since it was 1-1.
After Babic shot wide with a minute to go, the Colonials had possession coming out of a timeout. But Daley made a brilliant play to steal the ball from Deamer in the middle of the pool. Daley started a fastbreak the other way and fed Stupp for the go-ahead goal with 39 seconds left.
The Kinney Natatorium crowd was silenced just 15 seconds later, when Atakan Destici skimmed a shot under the crossbar and in. Bucknell had a final possession, but Joksimovich’s shot was off the mark with seven seconds to go. That was enough time for Petkovic to lob a length-of-the-pool pass to Noah McKinnie Braun, who scored the game-winner from a sharp angle on the left side with just three ticks left.
The GW comeback spoiled a terrific performance from Bison goalie Charlie Niehaus, who equaled his season high with 18 saves. Joksimovic scored six of Bucknell’s nine goals, with Stupp, Nate Hunter and Jeff Hagen accounting for the other three.
Joksimovic had another monster day, tallying 13 goals and three assists in the two games. That gives him 70 goals and 18 assists in 14 games this season.
Bucknell’s No. 9 ranking is its highest in team history and tied with Harvard for the top ranking among Eastern teams. The Bison’s only other loss this season came on Sept. 4 against No. 4 Pacific.
Bucknell returns to action next weekend in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with games against Princeton, Harvard and Iona.
GW 2 1 1 6 -10
BUCKNELL 4 1 1 3 -9
Goals: Joksimovic (6), Hunter, Stupp, Hagen.
Assists: Daley (2), Stupp, Dolan, Niehaus.
Ejections Drawn: Hagen (2), Daley, Hunter, Stupp.
Steals: Daley (3), Joksimovic (3), Babic (2), Hunter, Stupp, Dolan.
Saves: Niehaus (18 svs., 10 ga., 32:00 min.).
Sprints: Stupp (1-2), Joksimovic (1-2).
Bucknell Record: 11-2, 5-1 MAWPC.
NAVY 1 2 2 5 -10
BUCKNELL 2 0 7 5 -14
Goals: Joksimovic (7), Dolan (3), Daley (2), Hunter, Babic.
Assists: Joksimovic (3), Stupp (2), Daley (2), Babic (2), Dolan, Niehaus.
Ejections Drawn: Hunter (3), Hagen (3), Daley (2), Joksimovic.
Steals: Niehaus (3), Stupp, Moore, Dolan, Daley, Hagen, Joksimovic.
Saves: Niehaus (10 svs., 10 ga., 32:00 min.).
Sprints: Stupp (0-2), Joksimovic (1-2).
Bucknell Record: 12-2, 6-1 MAWPC.