Clarke's Record-Setting Night Goes Unrewarded as Bison Men's Lax Falls to Penn State, 9-8
April 7, 2009
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell sophomore Jake Clarke (Cos Cob, Conn./Greenwich) broke three school records with an incredible performance at the faceoff X, but Penn State goalie Drew Adams was just as good at the other end and the Nittany Lions scored the game's final three goals to stun the 19th-ranked Bison 9-8 on Tuesday night at chilly Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
Clarke went 20-for-21 on faceoffs, setting program single-game records for faceoff wins and percentage, and he also scooped a school-record 13 ground balls. Bucknell outshot Penn State 46-29 and held a 38-21 edge in ground balls, but the Bison had some turnover issues late in the game and Adams made 20 saves for the Nittany Lions, who got back to .500 at 5-5 on the year.
Bucknell got behind 5-3 in the second quarter but wrapped a 5-1 run around the halftime break to go up by two goals. Back-to-back extra-man goals by Tim Brandau (Owings Mills, Md./McDonogh) and Mele, both off assists from Winter, tied the game at 5 at the half.
Winter beat a double team to put the Bison up 6-5 just 5:45 into the second half. Jack Forster tied it with a transition goal at the 7:38 mark, but consecutive tallies from Chris Palmer (Atlanta, Ga./The Lovett School) and Mele just 54 seconds apart gave Bucknell an 8-6 lead.
Chris Hogan got one back for Penn State with 1:40 left in the third quarter, then Rob Forster scored twice in the fourth to put the Lions in front. Penn State's only faceoff win of the night game at the start of the fourth quarter when Clarke was whistled for a false start. PSU capitalized quickly, as Charley Henneghan sprinted toward the goal on the re-start and passed to Forster for the tying goal just seven seconds into the period.
With 6:01 to play, Brian Shea walked in from the left side of the box and fed a cutting Forster for the go-ahead tally.
The rest was up to Adams, who reached the 20-save plateau for the second game in a row (he had 24 in a win over Hobart on Saturday). Adams had six saves while keeping the Bison scoreless in the fourth quarter. Five of those stops came after Penn State had reclaimed the lead.
With 3:23 left Adams made a tough stop on a hard shot from Nick Gantsoudes (Redding, Conn./Avon Old Farms). Penn State cleared, but the Bison forced a turnover with 90 seconds to play. Charlie Streep (New Canaan, Conn./Loomis-Chaffee) had a shot kicked aside, then Mele skipped a low shot just wide of the cage from the left side with 48 seconds left.
Bucknell reset, and Streep beat a defender but Adams pocketed his shot from 18 yards out with 34 seconds left. Adams' outlet pass was errant, but after a brief scramble the ball went out of bounds off a Bucknell player with 24 seconds to play. Hogan ran the ball behind the Bucknell cage, and even though the Bison came up with a steal, they had no time to get the ball down the field.
Bucknell went 3-for-3 with a man advantage while holding Penn State scoreless in four EMO chances. Bucknell had 19 turnovers in the game, 11 coming in the second half. The Bison were just 15-for-22 on clears, with three big transition miscues coming in the fourth quarter.
In addition to Clarke's 13 ground balls, defenseman Bill Haire (Darien, Conn./Darien) had seven and freshman pole John Scally (Short Hills, N.J./Delbarton) had six, all on faceoffs.
Rob Forster finished with a hat trick for Penn State, while Jack Forster scored two goals and Matthew Mackrides had two goals and two assists.
Clarke entered the game ranked No. 2 nationally in faceoff percentage at .623, and he upped that mark to .661 after Tuesday's performance. Shane Walterhoefer of North Carolina was the national leader at .645 entering the week. Clarke's 20-for-21 performance is tied for 11th-best percentage-wise in NCAA history.
The previous Bucknell record for faceoff percentage in a game was Ryan Goodman's 10-for-11 (.909) showing against Mount St. Mary's in 2002. The previous record for faceoff wins in a game was 16 by Brian Loesch against Lafayette in 2001, and Loesch also had the Bucknell single-game ground ball record with 12 against Maryland in 2001.
Clarke now has 121 wins on the year, which is fourth-most in a season at Bucknell, and his 75 ground balls are now third-most and just seven shy of Alex Rudis' school record of 82 set in 1999.
With his three assists, Winter moved into sole possession of third place on Bucknell's career chart with 85. Mele's three goals give him 98 in his career, as he closes in on becoming the fourth player in school history with 100 goals.
Bucknell has two regular-season games remaining, both of them against Patriot League competition. The Bison host Lehigh on Senior Night on Saturday at 8 p.m., then a week later they travel to Colgate. Bucknell and Colgate are tied atop the league standings with perfect 4-0 marks.