Bucknell Men's Lax Falls at No. 11 Lehigh 9-8 on Goal in Final Seconds
April 14, 2012
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Two of the nation's hottest teams got together in front of more than 2,000 fans at the Ulrich Sports Center, and fittingly the contest was decided in the final seconds. Dante Fantoni scored with 13.8 seconds left in regulation to send 11th-ranked Lehigh to a 9-8 victory over No. 18 Bucknell on Saturday night. Depsite the loss, the Bison clinched a spot in the four-team Patriot League tournament thanks to wins by Army and Colgate earlier in the day.
The Bison and Mountain Hawks were both 9-1 in their last 10 games coming into the contest, and both were part of a three-way tie with Colgate atop the Patriot League standings. Colgate defeated Lafayette on Saturday, and the Raiders will be looking to secure the No. 1 seed at the Patriot League Tournament if it can win at Bucknell next Friday on CBS Sports Network.
Bucknell (9-5, 3-2) took a 5-3 halftime lead after Chase Bailey capped off a productive second quarter with a goal off an Eisenreich feed with 0:02 left on the clock. Lehigh (11-2, 4-1) stormed back by scoring all three goals in the third period, taking a 6-5 lead on Patrick Corbett's tally with 1:09 left in the period.
Lehigh's Dylan O'Shaughnessy took a cross-checking penalty with two seconds left in the third quarter, giving Bucknell possession to start the fourth. The Bison took advantage on the EMO, with Eisenreich setting up freshman David Dickson for the tying goal just 17 seconds into the period. Almost six minutes later, Peter Burke put the Bison ahead 7-6 with his second goal of the day.
Roman Lao-Gosney tied the game with 7:31 to play, but after Mike Huffner forced a turnover, Eisenreich juked a defender and put the Bison back in front with an unassisted marker with 4:07 to play.
Lehigh dominated the faceoff game, winning 13 of 18 on the night, and they parlayed one of those draws into the tying goal just moments after Bucknell had gone ahead. Ryan Snyder picked up the ground ball off the scrum and scored with 3:52 to play to make it an 8-8 game.
Ryan Gutowksi won the next faceoff for the Bison, but Dickson had a shot saved by Matthew Poillon. With three minutes remaining the Bison turned the ball over. Lehigh cleared and was able to run the clock down inside 14 seconds before Fantoni converted off a feed from Cameron Lao-Gosney.
Bucknell took the ball away after Lehigh won the ensuing faceoff, but the Bison could not get off a last-ditch shot and suffered their fourth one-goal loss of the season. Bucknell's five 2012 losses have come by a total of six goals, and all five have come against teams that have been nationally ranked this season.
Kyle Feeney made nine saves for the Bison, who were outshot 36-24 in the game. Lehigh won the ground-ball battle 25-19 but committed 15 turnovers to just nine for the Bison.
Poillon had eight saves for the Mountain Hawks, who snapped a six-game losing streak to Bucknell.
With his two goals and two assists, Eisenreich joined the rare 30-30 club with 30 goals and 31 assists on the season. He is the first player in the nation to reach that distinction this season and the third in program history to do it, joining Chris Cara (38-40-78 in 2004) and Jon Romm (45-31-76 in 1990). Eisenreich also became just the seventh Bison ever to record 60 points in a season.
The Bucknell-Colgate game is slated for 7 p.m. next Friday night at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Senior Night ceremonies will precede the contest.