Falcons Hold Off St. Johnís, 13-11
Queens, N.Y. -
Fighting off a third-period rally by the Red Storm, the Air Force lacrosse team held on for a 13-11 non-conference victory over St. John's Saturday afternoon at DaSilva Memorial Field. With the win, the Falcons even up their overall record at 3-3, while the Red Storm fall to 2-5 on the season.
The first period was a defensive battle, with the two teams combining for just eight shots. With the score tied at 1-1 at the end of the opening quarter, the Falcons began to heat up in the second period. After jumping out to a 3-2 advantage midway through the quarter, Air Force scored three goals in the final five minutes of the half, including a man-down goal as senior captain Tim Hade (Franklin Lake, N.J.) found the back of the net on the assist from his co-captain, D.J. Benzing (Sr., Severna Park, Md.).
Trailing 6-2 at intermission, St. John's responded early in the third quarter, scoring just 24 seconds into the half. Air Force pushed its lead back to four with a goal by Will Meister (So., Denver, Colo.) less than a minute later, but after the Falcons' goalkeeper, Justin Pavoni (Jr., Park City, Utah) was assessed a 30-second penalty for pushing, the Red Storm started a 3-0 streak over the next two and a half minutes. In addition to the man-up goal by Mike McGuire, St. John's scored a man-down goal and even-strength goal to cut the deficit to one. After nearly six scoreless minutes, Air Force sophomore Kevin Crumrine (Edgewater, Md.) notched a goal off an assist by Meister to push the Falcons' advantage back to two and both teams continued to trade goals for the remainder of the third period.
Air Force then scored the first two goals of the final period to take the 11-8 advantage. Robert Gannon scored for the Red Storm at the 8:41 mark to cut the deficit to two, but Meister completed his hat trick to push Air Force's advantage back to three goals. However, St. John's was not through fighting, scoring a pair of goals in less than 30 seconds to trail by one with just 1:26 remaining in the contest. Nevertheless, the Red Storm could not complete its rally for a come-from-behind victory, as Crumrine scored his second goal of the day off an assist from Max Miller (Jr., Dublin, Ohio) to seal the Falcons' 13-11 win over the first-year St. John's program.
While the Falcons outshot St. John's 36-29 in the game, they continued to struggle on face-offs, winning just 7-of-26 for the game. In addition, Air Force was 0-of-8 on extra-man opportunities, while the Red Storm was able to convert on 2-of-4 chances.
Several players had big offensive days for the Falcons, led by sophomores Meister and Justin Kuchta (Ridgefield, Conn.). Meister tallied three goals and three assists, while Kuchta added two goals and a team-high four assists. Also notching a hat trick for the Falcons was sophomore Conrad Lochocki (Chalfont, Pa.). Meanwhile, Benzing added two goals and two assists, Crumrine had a pair of goals and Miller notched two assists.
The Falcons also had a solid defensive effort from their preseason All-Americans, as Pavoni finished with nine saves and a team-high 10 ground balls, while Hade added eight ground balls to his second-quarter goal.
For the Red Storm, Tom Michaelsen had a team-high five points (three goals, two assists), while Gannon added three goals and an assist. Dave Saccente was impressive between the pipes, recording 16 saves and 10 ground balls.
The Falcons return to action with their third-consecutive road game on Saturday, April 3, when they head to West Point, N.Y., to face service academy-rival Army at 1:00 p.m. (ET).
Air Force 13, St. John's 11Air Force Scoring: Goals: Will Meister 3, Conrad Lochocki 3, Justin Kuchta 2, D.J. Benzing 2, Kevin Crumrine 2, Tim Hade. Assists: Justin Kuchta 4, Will Meister 3, D.J. Benzing 2, Max Miller 2.St. John's Scoring: Goals: Tom Michaelsen 3, Robert Gannon 3, Justin O'Donnell 2, Mike McGuire 2, Jack Rosson. Assists: Tom Michaelsen 2, Justin O'Donnell 2, Robert Gannon, Graeme Gillespie, Mike McGuire.