WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The two goalkeepers shined in Wednesday afternoon’s non-conference men’s lacrosse match, but it was the Hartford Hawks who defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats with a 6-3 decision from Al-Marzook Field in West Hartford. Three fourth quarter goals proved to be the difference in a clash featuring two of the region’s top defensive teams.
The Bobcats’ defense excelled through 45 minutes of play, holding Hartford to just three goals on 35 shots. However, UHart’s Andrew Cacchio netted two goals in the final frame, and Kevin O’Shea added another to conclude a three-goal victory for the Hawks.
Quinnipiac’s Gill Conners (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), who continues to stand out as one of the nation’s top goalies, had 12 saves in the game. He had three saves in the first quarter, three in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth. He lowered his goals against average to 7.83 and upped his save percentage to .662 for the season.
Three different Bobcats appeared on the scoring summary for Quinnipiac – Matt Kycia(West Hartford, Conn.), Nate Nibbelink (Hampstead, Md.) and Dylan Webster(Brampton, Ontario). Webster netted his ninth goal of the season, and now has 11 points thus far.
Playing in front of family and friends from his hometown, Kycia got the party started for the Bobcats. On just his first touch of the afternoon, Kycia ripped a shot from the right side that caught the top right corner for an early 1-0 Quinnipiac lead. It was his first tally of the season.
The rest of the opening frame went scoreless, and action picked up again with 9:11 remaining in the first half. Hartford got on the scoreboard on a goal from Brad Hutton, but Quinnipiac was quick to respond less than one-minute later. On the man-down, Nate Nibbelink put one past UHart goalie Frank Piechota to put Quinnipiac back in front, 2-1. The Hawks tied the score up before the halftime whistle, and the teams went into the break tied at two-apiece.
After intermission, each team scored once in the third quarter. Hartford struck first but Webster had the answer less than two minutes later. Michael Sagl (West Islip, N.Y.) slipped a crafty pass to Webster in front who made no mistake on the finish. Sagl extended his point-streak to 22 straight games with the assist.
Hartford edged Quinnipiac on the faceoff, 7-5, and took advantage of 20 Bobcat turnovers. Piechota also factored in the Hawk win, stopping 10 of Quinnipiac’s 13 shots on target.
Quinnipiac fell to 1-3 on the season and 6-9 all-time against Hartford. Quinnipiac has four straight losses to the Hawks, all decided by three goals or fewer. Hartford improved to 3-3 with the win.
Quinnipiac is back in action with its MAAC opener on Saturday, March 15, 2014. The Bobcats take on Manhattan College at the QU Lacrosse Turf Complex at 12 p.m.
Photo courtesy John Hassett