The Canisius College men’s lacrosse team outscored Manhattan, 4-1, in the fourth quarter on Saturday to earn an 8-6 win at Gaelic Park. With the win, the Griffs improve to 2-8 on the season and even their MAAC record at 2-2, while the Jaspers drop to 3-10 and 0-4 in league play.
“It was a great win for us today,” said Canisius head coach Randy Mearns. “We prepared all week and did a great job of executing. Our defense was strong and played together. Mike Moran had a day at the faceoff X, giving us possession most of the day. Offensively, we weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be at times but we got the job done when it counted. The bottom line is we stayed in the playoff hunt one shift at a time and I’m proud of the players and the resolve they showed today.”
Senior Joe Rautenstrauch and sophomores Brandon Bull and Tim Edwards each tallied two goals for the Griffs in the win with sophomore Austin Romantic and freshman Vince Gravino both adding a goal.
Sophomore Alex Goventtio anchored the Canisius defense in net with six saves with freshman Rich Stapleton collecting a career-best five ground balls, while matching his personal high with two caused turnovers.
Senior Mike Moran had a strong game at the faceoff X, claiming 12-of-16 restarts for 75 percent in the win.
The two schools played a tight opening half with neither team gaining more than a one-goal advantage. Bull and Edwards both scored in the opening quarter, sandwiched around a Manhattan goal, for a 2-1 lead after two. After the schools traded tallies to start the second quarter, the Jaspers scored two-straight goals for their first lead of the game, 4-3, with 3:51 remaining in the half. Edwards finished the scoring in the second, tallying his second goal of the game 2:33 before the break as the school headed into the intermission knotted at four.
Defense took over in the third quarter with the only goal being scored by Manhattan with 1:17 left as the Jaspers headed into the fourth with a 5-4 advantage.
Canisius, however, controlled the final frame to earn its second win of the season. Rautenstrauch scored an unassisted goal just 48 seconds into the fourth to tie the game at five. Romantic then scored just as an extra-man advantage expired to help the Griffs reclaim the lead, 6-5, with 12:03 left in the game.
Manhattan once again pulled even at 6-6, scoring with 8:05 remaining but Rautenstrauch scored his second goal of the quarter to give Canisius the lead for good. The senior gathered a loose ball on defense and finished on the other end as the Griffs took a 7-6 advantage with five minutes remaining. Moran then won the ensuing faceoff and Bull scored his second of the day off a feed from freshman Billy Jacobbi for the team’s first two-goal lead of the day, 8-6, with 3:32 left in the contest.
The Canisius defense took it from there, forcing the Jaspers into two turnovers in the final three-plus minutes to seal the win and hold an opponent to a season-low six goals.
The Griffs finished the game with a 32-25 advantage in shots, including a 10-3 edge in the fourth quarter. In fact, Canisius forced twice as many turnovers (six) in the final quarter then shots allowed (three).
Marcel Godino led the Jaspers with three points on two goals and one assist in the loss, while Rich Akapnitis recorded eight saves in net.
Canisius takes a break from conference action on Monday to host in-state foe Binghamton. The Griffs and Bearcats are set to meet at the Demske Sports Complex at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Canisius won for the first time when trailing at the end of three quarters since winning the MAAC Championship game against Siena last season. Canisius entered the game with an 0-8 record when trailing after 45 minutes … The Griffs have won their last seven games against Manhattan and now lead the all-time series, 15-4 … Jacobbi has recorded five points (1g, 4a) in two games since joining the starting lineup.