Bucknell Falls to Top-Seeded Colgate 14-9 in Patriot League Tournament Semifinals
April 27, 2012
HAMILTON, N.Y. - National scoring leader Peter Baum set a Patriot League Tournament record with nine points on five goals and four assists, leading top-seeded and 11th-ranked Colgate to a 14-9 victory over fourth-seeded and 18th-ranked Bucknell in a semifinal game Friday evening at chilly Andy Kerr Stadium. Seniors Billy Eisenreich and Nick Gantsoudes scored three times apiece for the Bison, who were trying to defend their 2011 Patriot League title.
Peter Burke added a goal and two assists and David Dickson had two assists for Bucknell, now 9-7 on the season. Colgate improved to 12-2 overall and will face either Lehigh or Army in the championship game on Sunday.
Bucknell was eliminated from the tournament despite a terrific showing at the faceoff spot. Going up against All-Patriot Leaguer Robert Grabher, who won 15 of 25 last week against Bucknell, Ryan Gutowski went 15-for-20 and the team finished 18-for 25 on Friday. Gutowski collected seven ground balls and senior wingman Andrew Van Valkenburg added a career-high five.
But Bucknell's faceoff advantage was cancelled by 19 turnovers, and after a wild 10-goal first quarter, Colgate gained some separation with a dominant second period. The Raiders outshot the Bison 14-0 and outscored them 3-0 in the quarter to take an 8-5 halftime lead. Bucknell turned the ball over seven times in the quarter, including a couple of miscues just after they got defensive stops.
Defenseman Bobby Lawrence broke the 5-all tie with a shot from beyond midfield into an empty net against Bucknell's 10-man ride. Baum picked up a ground ball outside the box and then whipped in a 15-yard shot to make it 7-5. With 5:01 left in the half Baum fed Ryan Walsh to make it 8-5.
Facing its biggest halftime deficit since the season-opener against Delaware, Bucknell got back in it in the third quarter. Todd Heritage made a great catch on a low pass from Burke and quick-sticked it home to make it 8-6. The Bison won yet another draw, but Grabher intercepted a pass near midfield, leading to a transition goal by Brendan McCann.
Eisenreich scored from a sharp angle on an EMO less than a minute later, and then with 1:32 left in the quarter Gantsoudes fired home a lefty shot from 18 yards out to bring the Bison within one at 9-8. But the momentum shifted right back Colgate's way when Baum scored on an outside shot with just 1.9 seconds left in the period.
Matt Baker started the fourth-quarter scoring just 2:45 in to push the Colgate lead back to three. Bucknell got one back a few minutes later on a terrific goal by Billy Mattimore. Heritage took a hard check while trying to shoot just to the right of the crease. Mattimore dove on the loose ball five yards in front of the cage and flipped it in from his stomach to pull the Bison within 11-9.
Bucknell had a chance to draw even closer with an EMO after Colgate was flagged for being offsides, but Jared Madison made a big save on Mattimore. Dickson stole a pass in his own end, but the Bison could not clear. Shortly after, Colgate got an EMO of its own and cashed in when McCann scored unassisted with 5:20 to play.
Goals by Ryan Collins and Baum in the final 4:10 iced it, handing Bucknell its first loss by more than two goals since March 12, 2009 against Notre Dame (10-6).
Bucknell scored on the opening possession of the game, with Gantsoudes finishing off a feed from Dickson just 1:17 in. Colgate scored the next two, both coming after Bucknell defensemen could not hang on to ground balls in their own end. On the latter, the ball spilled just in front of the goal crease, where Baum picked it up and shoveled it in underhanded.
There were five goals scored in the last 4:10 of the first quarter. Gantsoudes and Burke scored 28 seconds apart after a pair of Gutowski faceoff wins. But just eight seconds after the Burke goal, Grabher won a draw, sprinted to the goal and scored to tie the game at 4-4. Jeff Ledwick made it 5-4 Colgate with 57 seconds left, but then Eisenreich rolled to his left and scored with a tricky lefty shot just before the buzzer to complete the first-quarter scoring.
Colgate finished with a 41-27 shot advantage, while Bucknell won the ground-ball battle 32-29. Madison finished with 10 saves for the Raiders, while Kyle Feeney had seven saves and two caused turnovers for Bucknell. Sam Grinberg played 8:15 in the first quarter and conceded three goals without making a save.
With his three points on Friday, Eisenreich has 66 on the season (34 goals, 32 assists). That is tied for the fourth-most points in a season in Bucknell history. His 32 assists rank eighth all-time.
Feeney now has 426 career saves, which puts him in eighth place on Bucknell's all-time list with a season left to play.