The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team fell to Jacksonville, 11-10, in a tight contest throughout on Saturday at the Demske Sports Complex. The Griffs drop to 3-9 on the season and 2-3 in MAAC play, while the Dolphins improve to 7-4 and 5-1 against league foes.
“It was a tough loss today,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “In the big scheme of things, we know that Detroit (next weekend) is the biggest game of the season but our guys gave it their all to try to send the seniors out with a win in their final regular-season game at the Demske.
“Jacksonville has a great squad. I thought faceoffs were important again and Mike Moran did the job there. Tim Edwards had a great game. For the most part, we played really well defensively but we broke down a couple of times in slide packages. We played well today but unfortunately, we were just one goal short.”
Sophomore Tim Edwards led the Griffs with six points in the defeat, scoring three goals and matching his career high with three assists. Freshman Billy Jacobbi also added three tallies for Canisius, netting his first career hat trick. Sophomore Brandon Bull chipped in two scores with senior Nick Caldiero and freshman Vince Gravino each adding a goal.
Senior Joe Rautenstrauch paced the Canisius attack with four assists.
Senior Mike Moran once again led the Griffs at the faceoff X, winning 17-of-24 restarts, while collecting a career-best 15 ground balls. Sophomore Adam Donner anchored the Canisius defense with a career-best four caused turnovers.
The Dolphins grabbed the early lead in the contest thanks to two goals in the opening seven minutes. However, Jacksonville was never able to increase its lead the remainder of the game as the teams battled back and forth.
Jacobbi scored his first of the day with 7:26 remaining in the first but Jacksonville answered right back to take a 3-1 advantage into the second quarter. Edwards and Bull both netted goals in the second frame, sandwiched around a Dolphins tally, as the schools headed into intermission with Jacksonville ahead, 4-3.
The second half continued to be a back-and-forth affair between the two schools. The Griffs finally tied the game at six with 5:40 remaining in the third when Caldiero scored his first goal of the season, driving from behind the net and finding the back of the net from the right of the goalie. However, Jacksonville reclaimed its two-goal lead with a pair of tallies 1:23 apart in the final three minutes of the quarter to head into the fourth with an 8-6 advantage.
The teams traded goals in the opening two minutes of the fourth but Edwards tied the contest with his second and third goals of the game. The sophomore scored a man-up goal off a feed from Rautenstrauch with 12:17 remaining in the contest before netting an unassisted tally with 10:36 left to tie the contest at nine.
After Jacksonville won the ensuing faceoff, Canisius backed up a wide shot and had a chance to grab its first lead of the game. However, the Dolphins’ Pete DeLuca made a save off a shot from Bull and Jacksonville finished on the other end for a 10-9 lead. The Dolphins then tallied a second-straight goal, scoring with the man advantage, for an 11-9 lead with 5:03 remaining.
The Griffs continued to fight and pulled back to within one when Gravino fired a shot into the back of the net off a pass from Rautenstrauch with just 72 seconds remaining. Moran then won his 17th faceoff of the game, giving Canisius a chance to tie the contest in the final minute of play. However, Rautenstrauch attempted to send the ball back to the X and DeLuca intercepted the pass. The Dolphins successfully cleared the ball and killed the remaining time to hold on to the 11-10 victory.
Canisius finished the game with a 35-28 advantage in shots on the day. The Griffs were also 3-for-4 with the extra man, while Jacksonville converted 2-of-3 chances.
Ari Waffle led the Dolphins with six points on three goals and three assists in the win, while DeLuca finished the game with 10 saves.
The Griffs now have a week off to prepare for their biggest game of the season. Canisius faces Detroit next Saturday in a match where the winner advances to the MAAC Tournament and the loser has its season come to an end. The Griffs and Titans are set to meet in Detroit at noon.
Game Notes: Moran has won 76.1 percent of his faceoffs in the last three games, going 51-for-67 … The 15 ground balls are the most by a Griff since Mark Miyashita collected 18 against Marist on March 22, 2003 … Rautenstrauch recorded four assists after entering the game with three helpers in 11 contests this season … Canisius honored 11 seniors prior to the game who appeared in their final regular-season game at the Demske Sports Complex … Senior Nick Carrasco earned the start in net after regular starter, Alex Govenettio, was injured in pre-game warmups … Jacksonville has won all three meetings with the Griffs.