May 1, 2009

Fisher Stops Stevens; Earns Shot at AQ

from press releases

HOBOKEN, N.J. - Sophomore Ryan Schmidt (Whitesboro, N.Y.) broke a 14-14 deadlock with 2:01 left in regulation as the St. John Fisher College men's lacrosse team defeated Stevens Institute of Technology, 15-14 on Friday afternoon at the De Baun Athletic Complex in an Empire 8 Men's Lacrosse Championship semifinal. The game was back-and-forth all afternoon as the second-seeded Ducks were able to overcome an early 5-1 deficit, but Fisher did enough late to hold on and advance to the conference championship game versus Nazareth College on Sunday. The Golden Flyers defeated top seed Ithaca College in the other semifinal.

The Ducks got on the board 1:06 into the action as freshman Alex Hofrichter found the back of the net, but the Cardinals responded with four-straight goals in a span of 2:20. The Fisher momentum, however, was slowed by a heavy thunderstorm and a 45 minute delay with 7:48 to play in the first.

After the delay, it took a while for each team to get it going again as the Cardinals eventually made it a 5-1 game with 3:36 to play in the first quarter. Freshman Cal Case tallied with 2:15 remaining in the opening quarter to stop the bleeding, and the Ducks came out with two goals early in the second to make it a one-goal game. The tallies came from senior J.R. Oreskovich and Hofrichter.

After a Cardinal goal to end the Stevens run at three, Case found net with 11:59 left in the first half, and senior Eric Smith tied the game at six apiece 3:17 later. Oreskovich made it 7-6 Stevens, but Fisher scored the game's next two goals to reclaim the lead at 8-7 with 2:43 to go in the second quarter. The Cardinals goals were recorded by junior Jeff Price (Lima, N.Y.) and freshman Kyle Denhoff (Penfield, N.Y.).

Hofrichter tied the game for the fourth time with his third goal 22 seconds later, but junior Chris Schmidt (Camillus, N.Y.) was able to put away a pretty feed from junior Scott Bowen (Binghamton, N.Y.) with four ticks left in the half to give the Cardinals a 9-8 edge going into the locker room.

Fisher tallied four of the first five goals in the second half to build a 13-9 lead, but Stevens did not quit. Hofrichter recorded his fourth to make it 13-10 with 2:16 to play in the third, but Fisher struck first in the fourth to make it 14-10 with 12:18 to play. The two teams played scoreless lacrosse for the next 5:29, and the Ducks started their comeback with 6:47 remaining. Oreskovich put home a transition goal after a nice look from sophomore Taylor Brown, and 11 seconds later senior Matt Keating scored after a feed from sophomore Brandon Faubert, who had just won the face-off. Smith than scored an unassisted goal with 5:20 to go to make it 14-13 Fisher, and 1:58 later he tied the score at 14.

That goal by Smith would the last for the Ducks as Schmidt notched the final tally of the game, and the Ducks could not get it by Fisher goalkeeper Jon Cortina (Binghamton, N.Y.) in the final moments.

Both games the two teams played this season were decided by one goal as Stevens took the first one 8-7 on April 4. Stevens ended the game with a 37-34 edge in shots, but Fisher picked up 43 ground balls compared to 33 for Stevens. Senior Dave Wood (Vestal, N.Y.), who is top-10 nationally in face-offs, won 20-of-33 for Fisher.

Cortina ended the game making eight saves and allowing all 14 goals. Sophomore Dave Decker took the loss in goal for the Ducks, allowing 15 goals and stopping 11 shots.

Oreskovich finished with four points on three goals and an assist, and Keating had a goal, two assists, and three ground balls. Hofrichter and Smith each tallied four times for the Ducks, who will find out their draw in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship on Monday afternoon. Smith also added an assist. Case tallied twice and sophomore Zach McHugh led the Stevens defense with a ground ball and four caused turnovers. Junior captain Bobby Steinhauser picked up a team-high eight ground balls and sophomore Jake Messimer scooped up five.

Denhoff, Schmidt, and freshman Connor Henderson (Canandaigua, N.Y.) all registered four goals in the win for Fisher (15-2). Wood finished with 16 ground balls, and senior midfielder Jason Cirulli (Webster, N.Y.) caused a team-high three turnovers and picked up four ground balls.

Fisher moves on to the Empire 8 Championship game on Sunday and will host Nazareth, who stunned third-ranked and top-seeded Ithaca, 13-12 in overtime.

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