Falcons Drop Overtime Thriller To No. 11 Notre Dame, 14-13
South Bend, Ind. -
A huge second period for the home team proved to be the difference, as the Air Force lacrosse team fell short in its quest for the upset of 11th-ranked Notre Dame, losing to the Fighting Irish 14-13 in overtime Sunday afternoon at Moose Krause Stadium. The Falcons drop to 3-5 on the season, 0-2 in the GWLL, while Notre Dame improves to 6-3, 2-1 in the league.
The Falcons, who suffered a 12-2 loss to the Irish last season, got out of the gates quickly, scoring less than a minute into the game as freshman Kevin Crumrine (Edgewater, Md.) found the back of the net off an assist by senior D.J. Benzing (Severna Park, Md.). More than halfway through the first period, Air Force's advantage increased to 3-0 as senior defender Jared Brush (Nesconset, N.Y.) tallied his first score of the season. However, Notre Dame got on the board just six seconds later as Taylor Clagett, one of the top face-off specialists in the country, scored directly off the face-off. After another Air Force goal upped the score to 4-1, Notre Dame's Brian Giordano scored his first goal of the day with just three seconds remaining in the first period.
The two teams traded the first few scores in the second period, with the Falcons taking a 6-3 lead as Jeffrey Jablonski (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio) recorded his first career goal at the eight-minute mark. However, it was all Notre Dame for the remainder of the half, as the Irish scored five unanswered, including three by Giordano, to go into intermission with an 8-6 advantage.
Air Force scored the first two goals in the third quarter, including a man-up tally by sophomore Conrad Lochocki (Chalfont, Pa.), to tie the contest at 8-8. The Irish regained their advantage as Pat Walsh notched a man-up goal of his own at the 9:10 mark, but the Falcons responded once more. Both teams traded goals for the remainder of the quarter, with Notre Dame taking a 12-11 going into the final stanza.
The Irish extended their lead to two when Matt Malakoff tallied an unassisted goal with 12:08 on the clock in the fourth period. But the Air Force defense stepped up, holding Notre Dame scoreless for the remainder of regulation. Meanwhile, the Falcons capitalized on both extra-man opportunities they were given in the fourth quarter, tying the game at the 5:31 mark. Neither team could break the stalemate, sending the game into overtime with the score knotted at 13-13.
After Notre Dame was unable to convert on a few shots from close range in overtime, the Falcons had their opportunity to win it, getting a pair of shots on goal. However, Stewart Crosland, who entered the game in the third period, registered two crucial saves for the Irish, helping them regain possession. As a result, Giordano, who had been Notre Dame's primary offensive weapon in the first half, took an assist from Matt Ryan to notch his fifth goal of the game at the 1:18 mark in overtime, snapping the Irish's two-game losing skid.
Notre Dame outshot the Falcons 51-36 for the game, holding a 21-4 shot advantage in the decisive second period, and also scooped up 57 ground balls to Air Force's 38. Meanwhile, the Falcons converted on all four extra-man opportunities, as the Irish had just one chance to score a man-up goal.
Junior goalkeeper Justin Pavoni (Park City, Utah) was outstanding between the pipes for the Falcons, tallying 19 saves, including seven in the second quarter, and adding six ground balls. Meanwhile, senior co-captain Tim Hade (Franklin Lake, N.J.) was also exceptional on defense, picking up seven ground balls in the contest, while Brush kept the Irish's leading goal-getter, Jim Morrison, without a single goal.
Crumrine led the Falcons with seven points on a career-high five goals with two assists, while Lochocki notched his fourth-consecutive hat trick, scoring three goals and two assists. Justin Kuchta (So., Ridgefield, Conn.) tallied three points on two goals and an assist, Will Meister (Denver, Colo.) notched a goal and two assists and Benzing dished out a team-high three assists in the contest.
In addition to Giordano's five goals, Malakoff scored three goals and an assist, while Walsh scored two goals. Crosland recorded seven saves in just over 22 minutes of action in goal, while starting goalkeeper Joey Kemp, who entered the contest ranked second in the nation in save percentage, recorded five saves with 10 goals against.
The Falcons wrap up their five-game roadswing Wednesday, April 13, as they head to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face North Carolina. Game time is slated for 4:00 p.m. (ET) at Fetzer Field.
#11 Notre Dame 14, Air Force 13 (OT)
Air Force Scoring: Goals: Kevin Crumrine 5, Conrad Lochocki 3, Justin Kuchta 2, Will Meister, Jeffrey Jablonski, Jared Brush. Assists: D.J. Benzing 3, Kevin Crumrine 2, Conrad Lochocki 2, Will Meister 2, Justin Kuchta.
Notre Dame Scoring: Goals: Brian Giordano 5, Matt Malakoff 3, Pat Walsh 2, Colin Fatti, Drew Peters, Taylor Clagett, Ryan Cunn. Assists: Matt Karweck 2, Matt Malakoff, Jim Morrison, Michael Podgajny, Matt Ryan.