LEWISBURG, Pa. – Six different Bison scored goals and the No. 15 Bucknell men’s lacrosse team used a strong defensive effort to defeat Delaware 6-4 in its 2014 season opener Saturday evening at a cold Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium that just a couple days prior had a few inches of snow covering the playing surface. Junior Sam Grinberg made his first start in goal for the Bison and made 12 saves, including eight in the first half.
The win was the second straight season-opening victory over the Blue Hens (1-1) for Bucknell (1-0). It is the third straight year the Bison have opened their campaign with Delaware and the previous two meetings were each decided by one goal.
The Bucknell defense was strong throughout as it held Delaware to three goals, including just one in the second half, until the Blue Hens added a goal with three seconds remaining when the outcome had already been decided. In fact, Delaware scored just one goal in a span of 39:54 until that last-second tally.
Thanks to the strong play on the defensive end of the field, Bucknell earned the victory despite not finding the back of the net over the final 24:45 of play.
Seven of the game’s 10 goals were scored in the first half as Bucknell built a 5-2 lead at the intermission. Ryan Joseph, Todd Heritage and Thomas Flibotte each tallied unassisted goals in the first quarter to stake the Bison to a 3-2 lead. Ryan’s goal came when he ran in from the left side, while Heritage’s came on a rebound. Flibotte scored shortly after Delaware failed to clear the ball.
A goal by Delaware’s Tom Holland five minutes into the second period brought the Blue Hens to within 3-2, but three straight Bison scores gave Bucknell its largest lead of the game (6-2) with 9:45 left in the third quarter. Peter Burke, Kyle Shanahan and Sean Doyle registered the goals for Bucknell. Shanahan assisted on Burke’s goal, making him the only Bison with a multi-point outing.
Bucknell finished 21-for-21 on clears, compared to 14-for-19 for Delaware. The Bison held a 37-33 edge in shots and after trailing 27-14 in ground balls at one point, finished with a smaller 32-25 deficit in that category.
The Blue Hens won eight of the 13 faceoffs and were 2-for-6 in man-up situations. Bucknell was 0-for-4 in extra-man opportunities.
Like Bucknell, which had a different goal scorer every time, Delaware had four different players tally goals as Connor McRoy, Tom Holland, Connor Frisina and Brian Kormondy each found the back of the net.
Conor Peaks finished with 11 saves in goal for the Blue Hens.Bucknell will hit the road for the first time in 2014 next Saturday when it plays a 1 p.m. game in Providence, R.I., vs. Bryant.