Bobcats Dropped By Air Force
By Zach Smart
Coach Erik Fekete has said it time and time again. When the Bobcats are at their best, they can play neck-and-neck with anyone in the country.
The coach’s words resonated in junior goalie Roger Fish after the Bobcats’ upset-bid of the University of Denver fell one goal short.
But both Fekete and Fish’s words haven’t proved to be prophetic the last two games, as the Bobcats have been clobbered by a pair of top-shelf Great Western Lacrosse League foes in Ohio State and Air Force.
On April 7, the Bobcats blew an early 7-4 advantage en route to a disappointing 16-9 loss before a bi-partisan horde of 437 at home.
It was the third straight loss for the Bobcats, who dipped to 0-3 in the prestigious GWLL after winning three of their first five games of the 2007 campaign.
A relentless 11-0 Air Force spurt was too much for the Bobcats to overcome. The Falcons controlled the tempo throughout the second half and ripped off seven straight goals in a span of 10:32.
Defensive problems surfaced. A potent group of scorers led by gunslinger Will Meister were at times too much to handle, seeping into the teeth of the defense and scoring at will.
The Bobcats looked promising early on, as Jon D’Ascoli netted the game’s first goal just 1:29 out of the gate.
Senior standout Tucker Prudden, who finished with a team-high four goals, then deposited one past starter Daniel Bellissimo to put the Bobcats ahead, 2-0.
The Falcons’ Kevin Crumrine found the back of the net with 6:34 left in the first stanza, but the Bobcats responded as Prudden and Drew Maceranka tallied a pair of goals in 15 seconds, levitating the lead to 4-1.
The lead ballooned to 7-4 as senior Chris Griffin scored off a feed from D’ascoli with 3:13 to go in the second.
That’s when Quinnipiac underwent its longest scoring drought of the season. The Bobcats were held scoreless up until the middle of the fourth quarter, when Todd Kaiser’s shot made it 15-8. Anthony Peorio followed this up as the senior defenseman rolled up from behind the net and fired a shot at point-blank range past Dan Gnazzo.
It was all too little, too late. The scoring opportunities were there on a day when the Bobcats outshot the Falcons, 40-37. They simply couldn’t capitalize.
A tightened Falcon defense, which scooped up 42 of the game’s 76 groundballs, came into their element once Fred Acee replaced Bellissimo (3 saves, 7 GA) with Gnazzo (14 saves, 2 GA).
Freshman goalie Jamie Prudden took the loss for the Bobcats, allowing seven goals while making one stop during 15:32 in net. Fish made nine saves while allowing nine goals in 44:28.
The Bobcats will look to snap the three-game skid on April 11, when they head to the University of Hartford for an under the lights battle with their in-state foe.