Despite a 13-7 loss to Marist on Saturday night, the Canisius College men’s lacrosse team clinched the final bid to next weekend’s MAAC Tournament with a late rally.
With a loss to Marist, the Griffs needed a Siena victory over Manhattan and to lose by no more than six goals to the Red Foxes. Canisius faced a 12-2 deficit after three quarters of play before outscoring Marist, 5-1, in the final frame for the 13-7 final. The Griffs then waited as Siena held on to an 8-7 win despite a late rally by Manhattan, clinching the final bid for Canisius in the 2014 MAAC Tournament.
Marist earned the two seed for the MAAC Tournament, improving to 5-8 on the season and 3-3 in conference play. The loss evens the Griffs’ record at 7-7 overall and 3-3 against MAAC foes.
“What an emotional rollercoaster ride,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “First off, we didn’t have many answers for Marist in the first three quarters and hats off to Coach Wilkinson and his squad. They played with a sense of urgency that we couldn’t match until the fourth quarter when our season was on the line.
“We knew that if we got within six by the end of the game, we still had some life due to the tiebreaker scenario. We silently waited for updates from the Siena – Manhattan game and it was torture. Finally, we got the result we were hoping for and are now in the MAAC Championship. Not how we wanted to get there but we are there none the less. We have life again and it’s time to get back to work at the Demske.”
Sophomore Nick Tuttle led the Griffs with two goals during the fourth-quarter rally, including the bid-clinching goal with just 54 seconds remaining in the game. Junior Tim Edwards recorded a team-best three points on the night with a goal and two assists, while juniors Brandon Bull and Austin Romantic and sophomores Vince Gravino and Billy Jacobbi each added one goal.
After Canisius netted the game’s first goal, it was all Marist for the next three quarters. Romantic scored just 98 seconds into the game but the Griffs’ lead lasted just one minute as the Red Foxes answered right back. Marist then continued to pile it on and finished the opening half on an 8-0 run for a seven-goal advantage at the intermission, punctuated by a tally with just two ticks left on the clock in the second period.
Marist continued to pour it on in the third quarter. The Red Foxes opened the scoring in the half for a 9-1 lead before Jacobbi finally ended the run with 13:10 remaining in the third. Jacobbi’s man-up goal, which ended a 30:12 drought for the Canisius offense, didn’t give the Griffs the momentum for long as Marist scored just 45 seconds later and netted the period’s final three goals for a 12-2 advantage through 45 minutes of action.
The Griffs needed to outscore the Red Foxes by four in the game’s final period for a chance at the MAAC Tournament and started the frame with a pair of tallies from Edwards and Tuttle. Marist regained a nine-goal advantage, 13-4, with 9:13 remaining and then held the Griffs without a score for nearly four additional minutes. Bull then tallied his first goal of the night with a man advantage before Gravino scored for a 13-6 game with 3:41 left in the contest.
Marist won the ensuing faceoff but reserve netminder Jeff Wilson made a key save with under two minutes remaining. Tuttle then finished on the other end with just 54 seconds remaining as Canisius finally pulled back within the needed six-goal margin. Marist would once again win the following faceoff but the Griffs forced a turnover and then held onto the ball from there. The late rally, coupled with the Siena win, was enough to advance Canisius to next weekend’s MAAC Tournament.
The Red Foxes finished the game with a 34-22 advantage in shots and a 32-19 edge in ground balls. J.D. Recor led Marist with six points on the night, recording three goals and three assists.
Canisius, who earned the four seed for the MAAC Tournament, is set to play top-seeded Siena on Thursday. Game time in Poughkeepsie, New York is set for 4 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius had outscored a team by four goals in a quarter only two times (in 55 quarters) this season prior to Saturday’s final 15-minute stanza … After unbeaten Siena, a five-way tie resulted in second place in the MAAC standings. Since all five teams went 2-2 against each other, goal differential among the five teams was the tiebreaker, resulting in the following order: Marist (+9), Detroit (+1), Canisius and Quinnipiac (-2) and Manhattan (-6). The Griffs then earned the final bid by virtue of its 11-10 victory at Quinnipiac on April 12 … Wilson recorded a career-best three saves in 19:01 of relief, allowing only two goals for a .600 save percentage … Canisius is making its first trip to the MAAC Tournament since winning it all in 2012 … In fact, the Griffs have won their last two tournaments (2008 and 2012) and last four MAAC Tournament games … Siena defeated Canisius, 10-7, during the regular season in Loudonville.