BOSTON, Mass. – Behind a season-high 16 saves from Christian Klipstein and a six-point game from Will Sands, the Bucknell men’s lacrosse team secured a much-needed 12-6 victory over nationally ranked and previously unbeaten Boston University on Saturday afternoon at Nickerson Field.
Klipstein backstopped a terrific performance from the Bison defense, which kept the Terriers scoreless for a stretch of 34 minutes and nearly pitched a second-half shutout. That allowed the offense to score eight goals in a row and flip a 5-4 deficit late in the second quarter into a 12-5 lead.
Now 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Patriot League, Bucknell snapped a four-game losing streak with its best performance of the season. It came against a Terriers squad that entered the day as one of only five unbeaten teams in the country at 7-0. Boston University had the fourth-ranked defense in the nation, allowing only 7.0 goals per game while letting opponents shoot a paltry 18.7 percent.
Bucknell led 6-5 after a well-played first half in which neither team led by more than one goal. Boston University had a quick chance right off the second-half faceoff, but Klipstein made a tough save. About two minutes later, Reed Malas scored off a Tom Smith feed to make it 7-5.
Bucknell’s first seven goals came from seven different scorers, but Sean O'Brien broke that trend when he scored his second of the day with a lefty rip from the left side to make it 8-5 at 4:32 of the third quarter.
Neither team would score again for nearly a full quarter, as the Bison defense battled through some long possessions and kept getting stop after stop. Matt Gilray ended the drought at 5:27 of the fourth period, beating a 10-man ride with a shot into an empty net from just a few strides inside midfield.
With the Terriers forced to chase the ball in the waning minutes, Sands beat double teams to score twice, and then he fed Connor O'Hara to make it 12-5 with 1:26 left.
The only remaining drama would be to see if Bucknell could get the second-half shutout, but Jack Wilson scored a man-up goal with 46 seconds remaining.
O’Brien became the first Bison to reach the 20-goal mark this season, upping his Patriot League-leading total to 21 with a pair on Saturday. O’Hara tallied two goals and one assist, and Smith and Malas also had multi-point days with a goal and an assist apiece.
Sands, who had three goals and three assists on the day, moved past Tom Walther into eighth place on Bucknell’s all-time assists chart with 67 in his career. His 141 career points leave him two shy of the school’s top-10 list. Sands entered the day ranked third nationally in assists, and he upped his season total to 23 to go with 12 goals.
Boston University finished with a slim 31-30 shot advantage and an 11-10 edge in faceoffs. Terriers goalie Christian Carson-Bannister, who entered the day leading the league with a .647 save percentage and a 6.52 goals-against average, finished with seven saves.
Next up for the Bison is a non-conference game at Villanova on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The contest was scheduled to be played this past Tuesday but was postponed one week due to the snowstorm that blanketed much of the Northeast.