Whitaker??s Overtime Goal Lifts Penn State to 8-7 ECAC Lacrosse League Win
State College, Pa. - April 22, 2006 - The Penn State Nittany Lion lacrosse team, ranked No. 13 nationally, got a late overtime goal to claim an 8-7 ECAC Lacrosse League win over visiting Rutgers. In a steady and driving rain, head coach Glenn Thiel??s squad got the win and maintains its perch atop the league standings with the important home victory.
The Scarlet Knights got the game??s first goal, with Tad Stanwick taking a Devon Britts pass in front of the net and connecting at the 13:06 mark. But Nittany Lion Gil Pearsall (Carthage, N.Y.) answered right back with an unassisted goal a minute later to tie the game at 1-1. Neither team would score again, however, until Rutgers?? Josh Ashcraft notched an unassisted goal with just :34 left to play in the first period, giving Rutgers a 2-1 lead after the first stanza.
Rutgers also got the first goal of the second period, getting a man-up goal from Colin Checcio, off an assist from Chris Doctor, just 1:11 into the period. The Scarlet Knights continued their offensive onslaught at the 10:52 mark when Matt Gaines took a pass from Britts to put RU up 4-1. Senior John Eremus (Rosemont, Pa.) answered back, scoring off a Pearsall pass with 6:52 to play to cut the Rutgers lead to 4-2. Senior Chris Gannett (Downingtown, Pa.) scored again for Penn State goal shortly thereafter with an unassisted goal at the 5:43 mark. The Nittany Lions completed the mini-comeback with just :05 to play in the half when Pat Heim (Wayne, Pa.) scored an unassisted goal to tie the game at 4-4 heading into intermission.
The third period was scoreless until the 7:38 mark when Penn State??s Pearsall nailed an unassisted goal to put the Nittany Lions up 5-4, giving Penn State its first lead of the game. Bubba Scott (Rockville, Md.) put Penn State up 6-4 when he took a Ryan McAleenan (Grand Rapids, Mich.) pass and found the back of the net at the 6:37 mark for Penn State??s fifth unanswered goal. Rutgers stopped the PSU streak with :12 left in the period when Austin Rodgers scored an unassisted goal to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 6-5 heading into the fourth period.
Rutgers tied the game up early in the fourth when Gaines and Britts connected on another goal at the 14:15 mark of the fourth. Eremus put Penn State up 7-6 with a man-up goal at the 12:49 mark off Brian Boyle (Derry, N.H.) assist. Both defenses stiffened and no goal was scored until Rutgers tied the game with just :06 left. Scarlet Knight Jeff Rommel scored off a Checcio assist to knot the game at 7-7 and send the contest into a four-minute sudden death overtime period.
The overtime period was scoreless until just :12 seconds remained. The Nittany Lions secured the victory when Nate Whitaker (Great Falls, Va.)P took a Boyle pass and connected for the game-winning goal, giving the Nittany Lions an 8-7 win.
Pearsall led Penn State with two goals and an assist. Eremus had two goals and Boyle had two assists as well. Freshman goalie Drew Adams (Springfield, Pa.) had nine saves against 16 shots on goal. Senior Greg Gurenlian (Springfield, Pa.) won 16 of 19 face-offs and led Penn State with 14 ground balls. Gaines had two goals to lead Rutgers while Britts added three assists. Rutgers keeper Greg Havalchak had 13 saves.
Penn State improves to 7-4 with the win and leads the ECAC with a 5-1 conference mark. Rutgers falls to 5-6, 2-3 in the conference. The Nittany Lions will visit Villanova next Friday, April 28, for a 7 p.m. game in Philadelphia.
GAME SUMMARY: Penn State 8, Rutgers 7
GROUNDBALLS: PSU 35, RU 29 - EMO: PSU 1-4, RU 1-3
SCORE BY QUARTERS: 1 2 3 4 OT F PENN STATE 1 3 2 1 1 8 RUTGER 2 2 1 2 0 7
RECORDS: Penn State 7-4, 5-1 ECAC; Rutgers 5-6, 2-3 ECAC