The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team rolled to a 9-4 victory against Manhattan on Saturday afternoon at the Demske Sports Complex. With the win, the Griffs even their record at 5-5 and 2-2 in MAAC play, while the Jaspers drop to 2-9 and 1-2 against conference foes.
“Every game in the MAAC is a challenge and we really had to grind out a victory against Manhattan today,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “I thought the difference was we played really well as a team. We shot the ball well and our man-up was clicking. On the defensive end, Alex Govenettio came up with some big saves, especially in the fourth quarter. I also thought we did a really good job of matching their intensity coming out the halftime break and once we got two quick ones, I thought that gave us a lot of confidence for the rest of the game.”
Freshman Jeff Edwards led the Griffs with a career-best five points in the winning effort, netting his first career hat trick to go along with two assists. Sophomore Vince Gravino also recorded a hat trick, while classmate Billy Jacobbi chipped in two tallies. Sophomore Nick Tuttle rounded out the scoring for Canisius with a goal.
Junior Tim Edwards paced the Canisius attack with a game-high three assists in the victory. The junior also dominated the faceoff X once again by winning 11-of-15 restarts and adding a game-high eight ground balls.
Junior Alex Govenettio anchored a strong defensive showing on the afternoon with 10 saves, including six in the final quarter.
The Griffs jumped out to the early lead in the contest. Tim Edwards set up his brother Jeff for the first goal 2:15 into the game and Gravino added his first of the contest with 8:53 remaining in the period. The score remained 2-0 in Canisius’ favor until there was less than four minutes left in the second quarter when both teams added a tally and the schools headed into the halftime break with the Griffs ahead, 3-1.
Canisius came out strong in the third quarter, quickly building a six-goal advantage. After Jeff Edwards scored his second of the day just 64 seconds into the half, Tim Edwards won the ensuing faceoff and Gravino buried his second just 10 seconds later for a 5-1 lead. Jacobbi then added two man-up goals – both assisted by Jeff Edwards – for a 7-1 advantage with 9:51 remaining in the third frame.
Manhattan responded with two goals of its own to pull back within four, 7-3, but Jeff Edwards ended the run and completed his hat trick to send the teams into the fourth quarter with Canisius ahead, 8-3. Gravino then finished off his hat trick just 13 seconds into the final period and Manhattan added one final tally but had trouble solving Govenettio in net the rest of the quarter as the Griffs earned the 9-4 victory.
Canisius finished the game with a convincing edge in shots (35-23), ground balls (32-19) and faceoffs (12-5). Four different players scored for the Jaspers, while Rich Akapnitis recorded 10 saves in goal.
The Griffs continue MAAC play next weekend with a road contest against Quinnipiac. The first faceoff is set for noon on Saturday.
Game Notes: After scoring just one man-up goal in their first six games and first 15 attempts of the season (6.7 percent), the Griffs have scored at least one man-up goals in each of the last four games, going 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) during the stretch … Jeff Edwards recorded five points in the game after totaling nine (4g, 5a) in his first nine career games … With his three assists, Tim Edwards now has 99 career points (41g, 58a) … Canisius has won all nine meetings with Manhattan at the Demske Sports Complex and the last eight games overall in the series … The Griffs honored former head coach Mike Greco (1993-98) prior to the game as the program’s third recipient of the Ed Van Tine Award.