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Feb. 24, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A capacity crowd of 1,249 witnessed a back and forth game between No. 8 Penn State men's lacrosse and No. 3 Notre Dame in which three goals were scored in the final 24 seconds of regulation. Junior Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) tied it with sixth-tenths of a second left to send the game to overtime where UND's Matt Kavanagh scored with 1:34 to go in the extra frame as Notre Dame escaped with a 10-9 win at Holuba Hall.
"You talk about a roller coaster game," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "First and foremost I give Notre Dame a lot of credit, being down two goals with a few minutes to play. I thought we had a good possession that unfortunately ended with a timer-on violation and (Notre Dame) came back and capitalized.
"I give our guys a lot of credit as well," Tambroni continued. "To fight back with 17 seconds left: to win a faceoff, have enough piece of mind to win a faceoff and to have the poise, Tommy LaCrosse had poise knowing the clock is winding down and get a good shot. Not just a shot against a first-team All-American goalie, but a good one. That says a lot about him and that says a lot about our team."
Penn State (2-1) took a two-goal lead, 7-5, with 49 seconds into the fourth quarter on a man-up goal from Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.), assisted by Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.). That score capped a four-point effort by Forster, who scored three goals between the second and third quarters.
Notre Dame answered with back-to-back goals with 9:28 remaining from Tyler Kimball and Liam O'Connor on the ensuing faceoff to tie the game at seven. LaCrosse made it 8-7 three minutes later and Penn State held a tenuous one-goal lead into the fourth quarter's final minute when Notre Dame called timeout.
Conor Doyle scored his third of the game to tie the game at eight with 24 seconds left and O'Connor scored immediately after winning the faceoff six seconds later as UND looked assured of the comeback victory. Penn State's Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) won the faceoff as Kessler Brown (Springfield, Va.) collected the ground ball, scooped it to Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) and flipped it to LaCrosse. LaCrosse dashed to his left and fired a shot to the lower left part of the net past UND netminder John Kemp (10 saves) to knot the game with less than a second left.
LaCrosse nearly ended the game with two minutes to go in the overtime period, but Kavanagh dodged to his left and scored a right-winged shot past PSU goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.). Kaut made 10 saves on the afternoon.
Penn State started slowly by conceding the first two goals to the Fighting Irish on early tallies from Doyle in the game's opening 6:50 for a 2-0 UND lead. TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) tallied his eighth of the season on a Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) transition dish, cutting the lead in half with 2:02 left in the first quarter. Kaut started the play with a great save and outlet to Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) before Sturgis and Sanders connected on the goal.
That goal kick-started a 3-0 run for PSU as Forster netted the next go goals to start the second period, giving Penn State a 3-2 lead with 6:39 left in the half. UND's Westy Hopkins tied the affair with 58 ticks on the clock and the teams went into the halftime break deadlocked at three.
The third period saw PSU out-score the Fighting Irish 3-1 over the final 10 minutes of the period to make a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead. LaCrosse and Forster scored the goals at 9:59 and 5:02 before Steve Murphy scored for UND with 2:12 left. Kyle Zittel (Eden, N.Y.) scored his third of the year with 52 seconds remaining on a dish from Sanders for the 6-5 lead after three periods.
Forster and Doyle had game-high four points, while LaCrosse had three for PSU. Henneghan won 11-of-21 faceoffs with two ground balls, while O'Connor won 10 faceoffs with seven ground balls and two assists. Kaut led the Nittany Lions with five ground balls.
For the game, Notre Dame out-shot Penn State 38-34 overall and 20-19 for shots on goal. The ground ball battle was nearly even, PSU owning a 27-26 edge, but committing three more turnovers than Notre Dame, 19-16.
Penn State went 1-for-4 on the man-up, while holding Notre Dame scoreless, 0-for-3. PSU was nearly flawless on the clear, going 23-for-24 and Notre Dame going 20-for-23.
It was the second straight game in the series that went to overtime after Penn State won 4-3 in South Bend last year. The series now favors Notre Dame 15-5 overall.
Penn State hosts Ohio State on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in a crucial Creator's Trophy showdown. PSU is 1-0 this season in the event's second year between Big Ten men's lacrosse schools after defeating Michigan, 11-6, on Feb. 9. A win would secure PSU's second straight Creator's Trophy title.
NOTES: Forster recorded his ninth career hat trick on Sunday afternoon and second this season...Forster's four points put him over the 100-point mark for his career, he now stands at 102, 32 points shy of 10th all-time at PSU...Tom LaCrosse tallied his second career hat trick and first of 2013, matching his three-goal performance vs. Delaware (4/21/12)...Penn State last lost an OT game on Mar. 17, 2012 to No. 3 Massachusetts at Penn State Lacrosse Field. That was also the last time PSU played the No. 3 team in the nation.