NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Sean O'Brien lifted the No. 14 Bucknell men's lacrosse team to a 9-8 overtime victory at No. 3 Yale on Wednesday night at Reese Stadium.
With just over a minute remaining in the extra frame, O'Brien deked around his defender and beat Jack Starr five hole to help the Bison (8-3, 5-1 Patriot League) snap the Bulldogs' (7-2, 3-0 Ivy League) seven-game winning streak and win their third-straight road game over a ranked opponent.
O'Brien's heroics were set up by Christian Klipstein, who made two crucial saves when the score was knotted at eight apiece. With 36 seconds remaining in regulation, he turned aside a point-blank bid by Brendan Rooney to send Bucknell and Yale's first meeting into bonus time. Then, after the Bison took an untimely penalty just after overtime's opening face-off, he denied Jack Tigh during the Bulldog man advantage.
Klipstein made 11 saves while O'Brien finished the night with five points on four goals and one assist. Not to be outdone, Connor O'Hara set a new career high with six points on four goals and his first two helpers on the 2018 campaign. During the third quarter, O'Hara netted three goals in a three-minute span to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 advantage.
Throughout the game, Bucknell controlled the pace of play, consistently chewing up minutes at a time during offensive possessions. The Bison displayed poise and patience with the ball, no more so than after they got it back with 2:55 left to play in overtime. They took a full 1:51 off the clock before O'Brien netted the game-winning goal.
Yale and Bucknell both scored in bunches. After the Bulldogs drew first blood with their first of three man-advantage strikes, the Bison rattled off three-unanswered goals to carry a 3-1 lead into the second quarter. Yale ultimately controlled that quarter, scoring all three of its goals to take a 4-3 halftime lead.
O'Hara was the story of the third frame. During a delayed penalty call, he found the back of the net while diving across the crease to even the score with 13:49 on the clock. Thirty two seconds later, he struck again on the man advantage, finishing off a Will Sands feed with a no-look, behind-the-back shot.
After O'Hara took another Sands feed and netted his third-straight goal at the 11:58 mark, O'Brien gave Bucknell its largest lead of the game, a 7-4 edge, 42 seconds later with an unassisted bullet.
Yale wouldn't go quietly, scoring four of the next five goals, including both of the fourth quarter's tallies. Ben Reeves forced overtime by beating Klipstein with 1:38 left to play in regulation; the two-time Tewaaraton Award Finalist ultimately factored into more than half of the Bulldogs' strikes, recording five points on two goals and three helpers.
For the Bison, Sands added three helpers while Tommy Sopko also found the back of the net. O'Brien, Klipstein and Sopko tied for the team high with three ground balls while Lukas Munoz and Tom Smith each caused a team-best two turnovers.
O'Hara now has 32 goals on the season, placing him five away from entering Bucknell's single-season top 10 with three games left to play in the regular season. O'Hara scored 28 goals before registering his first assist of the season, which came on O'Brien's first strike of this contest.
Yale's Conor Mackie won 13-of-19 face-offs and collected a game-best nine ground balls. Jackson Morrill added a pair of man-advantage goals while Starr stopped nine shots.
Bucknell held a 34-30 advantage in shots but were topped in ground balls (26-19) and man-advantage goals (3-1). The Bison held the Bulldogs to 12-for-17 on their clearing attempts and turned the ball over five fewer times over the course of the contest.
Yale is the third-straight ranked opponent Bucknell has topped on the road. The Bison downed then No. 6 Loyola, 12-11, on March 24 and then No. 15/20 Army West Point, 10-7, on March 31. Their victory over the Greyhounds was their first over a top-10 opponent since 2013; on March 19 of that year, the Bison, then ranked No. 15, edged No. 2 Cornell, 9-8, in Ithaca, New York; Chase Bailey netted the game-winning goal with one minute remaining in regulation.
Bucknell next returns to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium for the first time in four games this Saturday. As part of a lacrosse double header that begins with a 1 p.m. women's game against Holy Cross, the Bison will face Mount St. Mary's at 7 p.m.