Nittany Lions Fall to Drexel in Triple OT Thriller, 13-12
April 5, 2014
PHILADELPHIA - The Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team fought valiantly Saturday at Vidas Field, but ultimately fell, 13-12, in a dramatic triple overtime thriller to Drexel. Mitch de Snoo scored the game-winning goal with 46 seconds remaining in the third extra frame to propel the Dragons to victory.
Freshman Mike Sutton (Sewell, N.J.) made the most of his first collegiate start by scoring five goals on the day. Fellow freshman Dan Craig (Shelburne, Ont.) tallied four points on a goal and three assists, while senior goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) did all he could with a 17-save performance, a season-high showing. His 17 stops were the most since an 18-save game at Notre Dame (Feb. 26, 2012) and matched a 17-save game vs. Villanova (March 31, 2012).
Penn State (4-6, 0-2 CAA), which found itself down 7-4 with 6:14 left in the second quarter fought back with a 5-0 run to take a 9-7 lead into halftime. Drexel responded with a 3-0 spurt of its own to regain the lead, 10-9, with 8:06 remaining in the third. A 3-1 spurt in the third and fourth quarters gave the Nittany Lions a 12-11 advantage with 9:29 left in regulation, but Penn State would fail to score over the final 20:43 of the game.
Drexel's Ben McIntosh scored his fifth goal of the game with just 81 seconds remaining in regulation as he sliced through the defense for his 32nd of the year. McIntosh finished with a game-high eight points, while Ryan Belka added a hat trick of his own.
In the first two overtime periods, Cole Yeager (Radnor, Pa.) won both faceoffs to get the Nittany Lions on attack. Yeager finished the day by going 13-for-21 with six ground balls at the X. Coupled with Drake Kreinz's (Delafield, Wis.) 6-for-9 outing, Penn State went 19-for-30 in draws against the reigning CAA Player of the Week, Nick Saputo and company. Saputo went 6-for-18 on Saturday and entered the game fourth nationally in faceoff winning percentage (67 percent).
Despite winning the opening draws, it was team defense that won out. Penn State out-shot Drexel, 2-1, in the first extra stanza, but turned it over two times. In the second stands, it was Drexel with a 4-1 shot advantage, forcing Kaut into two saves, while PSU committed three turnovers.
The end of the second overtime didn't come without controversy, however, as Drexel appeared to score the game-winning goal. After a PSU turnover, Drexel attempted a quick restart, but two balls were on the field at the same time as the Dragons scored in the unsettled situation.
Despite the Drexel bench storming the field in celebration, the officials congregated and ruled the goal was no good and play restarted at midfield. Penn State's defense held strong and forced its first triple OT game since March 5, 2011 at Ohio State.
The third overtime saw Saputo win his sixth faceoff the game, and the Dragons never relinquished possession. Drexel held a 5-0 advantage in shots with Cole Shafer's effort careening off the upright and being picked up by de Snoo, who fired his second goal of the game and lifted the Dragons to victory.
Drexel improved to 6-27 all-time against the Nittany Lions in the final meeting between the two teams at members of the CAA. DU out-shot Penn State 52-34, but it was Kaut that kept the playing field even. He made six saves in the first quarter, three in the second, two in the third and three in the fourth for 14 stops in regulation. He added three more in overtime.
The Dragons raced out to a 3-1 lead on three McIntosh goals with 5:12 remaining in the first. Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) and Nick Aponte (West Islip, N.Y.) would even the score as the teams ended the first 15 minutes in a stalemate, 3-3. For Aponte, it was his first career goal.
Drexel's 3-0 run to start the second pushed the lead to 6-3 with 6:45 remaining before Sutton broke the drought on the man-up from Craig. DU's Deven Thomas scored on the ensuing faceoff to regain a three-goal edge. Thomas was 5-for-11 at the faceoff X for Drexel.
With 4:09 left in the second, Sutton rolled around the cage on his own and beat goalkeeper Will Gabrielson (six saves). Sutton recorded his first career hat trick just 23 seconds later, striking from long range to cut the Drexel lead to one, 7-6.
Kyle Baier (Auburn, N.Y.) scored his first goal since March 18 against Dartmouth to even the score at seven with 2:34 to go in the half. Drexel's undisciplined play led to another man-up opportunity for Penn State as Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) put away a beautiful feed from Craig for the Lions' first lead of the game, 8-7, with 1:115 to go. The Lions were 4-for-7 in the extra-man opportunities.
Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) was the seventh different Nittany Lion to score in the first half as he put away a Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.) offering with only eight seconds remaining in the second quarter. The nine goals scored by PSU were the most in a half since the Feb. 8 season opener vs. Michigan when the Nittany Lions tallied 11 on each side of halftime.
Drexel's 3-0 run was sparked by goals from Shafer, McIntosh and de Snoo as the Dragons earned a 10-9 advantage with 8:06 left in the third. Sutton's back-to-back tallied, and his second man-up goal of the day, regained PSU's lead at 11-10 with 3:56 to go.
Belka evened the score again to open the fourth quarter before Manley long run down the middle of the field yielded PSU's final lead of the game, 12-11, with 9:29 to play.
Eight different Nittany Lions scored on the afternoon and 10 registered a point. Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) and Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) each tallied assists for the Nittany Lions. Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) had a solid game with a season-high seven ground balls and two caused turnovers, earning a start on defense.
The Nittany Lions set off for Maryland next week for its final CAA road game in program history against Towson. The Saturday night contest is set for 7 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium.