March 4, 2014

Shafer Leads No. 16 Drexel Over No. 19 St. John's

from press release

PHILADELPHIA  – Freshman Cole Shafer scored five times and Ben McIntosh added six points as No. 16 Drexel defeated No. 19 St. John's on a frigid afternoon at Vidas Field in West Philadelphia, 16-11. The Dragons controlled play for most of the game as Nick Saputo dominated on face-offs for the Dragons. He won 22 in the game, including eight in the second quarter, as Drexel (3-2) went on a 7-0 run to take control of the game. The Red Storm fell to 2-2 on the season.

St. John's trailed by as many as six goals in the game, but was able to cut the lead down to two goals midway through the fourth quarter. Colin Keegan's tally made it 13-9, and Ryan Fitzgerald scored twice within a span of 1:08 to make it 13-11. However, Shafer gave the Dragons some breathing room with a goal at the 6:08 mark and then another with just 1:40 left in the game. He took a long pass from Will Gabrielsen to seal the contest. Nick Trizano finished the scoring with 21 seconds left as the Dragons won their second game against a ranked opponent this year.

The Dragons and Red Storm alternated scoring the first six goals of the game. Six different players scored before Stefan Diachenko gave St. John's its first lead of the game at 4-2 with 2:39 left in the first period. That would be the Red Storm's last goal for a span of 16:39 as the Dragons rattled off seven straight goals. Shafer had the first two, including one on the man-up, and the final of the seven goals. In between, Trizano, McIntosh, Nick Valentino and Jared Boudreau each had a goal as the Dragons took a 10-4 lead. The Red Storm stopped the momentum briefly as Keegan and Kevin Cernuto scored. Cernuto's came with just 20 seconds remaining in the half. On the ensuing draw, Saputo won it cleanly, picked up the ground ball and fired a shot past goalkeeper Harry Burke with eight seconds left as the Dragons took an 11-6 lead to the break.  

In the second half, the teams swapped the first four goals of the half before the Red Storm started its comeback. Nick Sherry and Keegan had the St. John's goals, while McIntosh and Trizano scored for the Dragons.

Saputo finished the day by winning more than 70 percent of his face–off attempts (22-for-30). The nation's leader in ground balls added to his total with 14 on the day. McIntosh scored three times and handed out three assists, while Trizano had a hat trick and two assists. Will Gabrielsen made 13 saves for the Dragons and also picked up his first career assist.

Keegan led the Red Storm with three goals and six points. Fitzgerald added three goals and an assist, while Cernuto had two goals and two assists. Joseph Danaker allowed seven goals and had three saves before being replaced by Burkes, who had four saves and allowed the other nine Drexel goals.

Drexel outshot the Red Storm, 42-36, with 30 of those shots coming in the first half. The Dragons won the battle of ground balls, 32-19, but committed 22 turnovers and were just 19-for-25 on clears.

The Dragons are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Rhode Island to face Bryant College in a non-conference game.  

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