WEST POINT, N.Y. – The No. 16/18 Bucknell men's lacrosse team dropped No. 15/20 Army West Point, 10-7, to improve to 5-1 in Patriot League play on Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium.
After the Black Knights (5-4, 2-3 Patriot League) trimmed their deficit to 7-6 in the fourth quarter's first minute, the Bison (7-3, 5-1 Patriot League) scored three unanswered goals to put the game out of reach. With their victory, they clinched a spot in the 2018 Patriot League tournament and remained locked in a three-way tie for first with No. 19/17 Lehigh and Navy.
During the third stanza, Reed Malas completed a hat trick in an eight-minute span to turn a 3-3 deadlock into a 6-4 Bucknell advantage. Malas, who also registered an assist, now has nine points (6g-3a) in the Bison's past two games, both victories over ranked foes.
Malas and Will Sands (2g-2a) both recorded a game-best four points. Sands became the sixth Bison to net 100 career goals with his strike at the 44-second mark of the third quarter, which also gave Bucknell a 7-5 edge.
The first half was marked by physical, hard-hitting play. In the first quarter, Army built a 2-0 lead, with A.J. Barretto making four of his nine saves to keep Bucknell off the board.
The Black Knights extended their lead to 3-0 with 13:28 on the clock in the second quarter, but the Bison came roaring back. After Tom Smith broke through at the 9:40 mark, Sopko found the back of the net twice in less than two minutes to even the score with 2:45 left to play in the half.
By opening the second half's scoring, Malas gave Bucknell its first lead. While Army West Point quickly evened the score, Malas struck at the 3:53 and 2:28 marks of the third quarter to make it a 6-4 game in the Bison's favor. For his first goal, Malas carved through the defense and then threaded a shot into the lower left corner of the net; he completed his hat trick while falling to the ground with a seeing-eye bullet from near the restraining line.
In net, Christian Klipstein finished with nine saves, seven of which came in the first half. Bucknell's defense was exceptional, limiting the Black Knights to just nine shots in the second half, only two of which were on target.
Bucknell held advantages in shots (34-29) and ground balls (27-26). Army turned the ball over three fewer times and won the face-off battle by a slim 11-10 margin.
Nate Jones (1g-2a), Jeremy Angle (2g) and David Symmes (2g) led the Black Knight offense. Johnny Surdick, the Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, collected five ground balls and caused two turnovers.
The Bison last won at least seven of their first 10 games in 2013. That season, they won eight of their first 10 games, rattling off a seven-game winning streak.
Bucknell next wraps up non-conference play by traveling to Yale for a game on Wednesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. The Bison then return to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium to face off against Mount St. Mary's on Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m.