The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team won its second-straight game to the start the 2014 season, earning a 7-6 victory over Air Force on Saturday afternoon in the first game of the Frontier Airlines Face-Off Classic in Denver. The Griffs are now 2-0 to start the season for just the second time in the program’s history and for the first time since 2001. Air Force drops to 1-2 on the season with the loss.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the resolve our players showed today against a very talented Air Force squad,” Mearns said. “They willed themselves to a victory and made plays when we needed them.”
Sophomore Billy Jacobbi led the Griffs, netting his second career hat trick in the victory. Freshman Lewis Vaccaro added his first two collegiate tallies, while juniors Brandon Bull and Austin Romantic rounded out the scoring for Canisius with a goal each.
Junior netminder Alex Govenettio put forth his second-straight strong performance in goal, matching his career high with 13 saves in the winning effort.
Junior Tim Edwards also dominated at the faceoff X for the second-straight contest, winning 10-of-14 restarts for a .714 winning percentage to go along with a career-best and game-high nine ground balls.
“The offense got us the lead in the first half,” Mearns said. “Billy Jaccobi was on fire and Lewis Vaccaro got us some timely goals. Tim Edwards controlled the faceoff X the entire game and that was huge for us.
“Alex Govenettio was very sharp and is the seeing the ball very well right now. He was the catalyst but I can’t say enough for the defensive core in front of him in DJ Giacobbo, Adam Donner, Rich Stapleton, Kevin Collins, Brendan Barren and all of the defensive midfielders. If you can hold a team to six goals, you have a good chance of winning and they certainly rose to the challenge today.”
After Air Force netted the game’s opening goal just 59 seconds into the contest, Canisius took control of the contest. Bull and Romantic added tallies in the first quarter with 4:43 and 2:42 remaining, respectively. Jacobbi then netted his first goal of the afternoon just eight seconds into the second frame off a pass from Romantic for a 3-1 Canisius advantage.
Air Force got one goal back but Jacobbi and Vaccaro each added goals to stretch the Canisius lead to three, 5-2, with 10:53 remaining in the second quarter. Air Force would net the half’s final score as the teams headed into intermission with the Griffs ahead, 5-3.
The Falcons netted the first two tallies of the third quarter to tie the game at five with 2:02 remaining in the period. Canisius, however, quickly responded with two goals of its own before the quarter ended. Vaccaro netted his second of the day off a pass from defender DJ Giacobbo to give the Griffs the lead 26 seconds after Air Force tied the contest. Jacobbi then completed his hat trick with just six seconds remaining in the period as Canisius headed into the final stanza with a 7-5 advantage.
Air Force was able to pull within one with 8:54 remaining in the contest but the Griffs would not allow the equalizer and held on for the 7-6 victory. Govenettio made one final stop in the closing seconds of the contest to preserve the Canisius victory.
The Falcons finished the game with a 42-28 advantage in shots. Canisius, however, won the battle in faceoffs, 10-6, and in ground balls, 30-28.
Mike Crampton led Air Force with two goals, while Doug Gouchoe recorded eight saves in defeat.
Canisius continues play at the Frontier Face-Off Classic with a contest against host Denver on Sunday. The Griffs and fifth-ranked Pioneers are set to meet at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Game Notes: Canisius also won its first two games of the season in 2001 en route to a program-best 4-0 start to the season … The Griffs won two games against non-conference foes for the first time since 2002 … Canisius also won consecutive contests against non-conference teams for the first time since opening the 2001 campaign with wins over VMI and Radford … Govenettio now owns a .727 save percentage – stopping 24 shots in two games, while allowing just nine goals (4.50 per game) … In his first two seasons, Govenettio recorded a .424 save percentage … The assist for Giacobbo was the first in the fifth-year senior’s career (34 games) … Edwards has won 77.8 percent of his faceoffs this season (21-of-27) … Edwards, however, was held without a point for the first time in his 29-game career. He entered the weekend with the 11th-longest scoring streak in the nation (third among midfielders).