Posted: March 22, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind a combined five goals from freshman Richard Bradley, sophomore Brian Bienemann, and freshman Jonathan Stumpf, Lehigh downed St. John’s 7-3 on Saturday afternoon at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Brian Smith and Brant Fischer also scored goals for the Mountain Hawks who improve to 5-5 on the season, and remain perfect at home versus non-league foes. Garrett Mitchell netted two scores for the Red Storm who fall to 0-6 following the loss.
Lehigh out shot St. John’s 36-28, led by Max Dahlem’s seven and Stumpf’s six attempts. Trevor Michaelsen was credited with a game-high eight shots for the Red Storm, while teammate Justin O’Donnell took six. Lehigh’s defense again put forth a very strong effort, led by senior captains Dan Honeywell and Tom Allen who combined for six caused turnovers, 11 ground balls and a number of hard hits. Senior net minder Eric Spirko sent back ten shots in goal for the Brown and White as he went the full 60 minutes and St. John’s goal keeper Dan Goldberg also stopped ten shots.
“(Eric) Spirko has really come on of late,” Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese commented afterwards. “He’s on top of his game right now and in this sport you can really ride a hot goalie. He allows us to stay in games and overall the defense has been tremendous these last few games. Our assistant coaches, Taylor Wray and Brendan Callahan, have done a great job with the defense and goal keepers, and it’s really showed here of late.”
The Mountain Hawks scooped up 35 ground balls and won eight-of-13 face-offs, led by senior Stuart Baxter who won six-of-11 attempts in the X. St. John’s was 18-of-20 on clear attempts and the Brown and White was 18-of-21, while the two teams combined for 42 turnovers.
Jack Rosson scored the game’s first goal just 13 seconds in to give St. John’s an early 1-0 lead, but Stumpf tied things up at one at the 12:23 mark with an unassisted score. Smith scored his second goal of the season off a feed from Stumpf and Lehigh took a 2-1 lead with 8:44 left in the quarter. Smith’s goal was of the man-up variety.
Off an assist from Matt Diehl, Bradley gave Lehigh a two-goal cushion with 6:41 left in the first half, and his first-year teammate gave the Mountain Hawks a 4-1 lead with an unassisted score at the 2:13 mark of the second quarter. The score remained that way into halftime.
The Red Storm cut Lehigh’s lead in half when Mitchell scored his first goal of the season at the 10:02 mark of the third quarter, but Lehigh reeled off the game’s next three scores, including one each from Bradley, Bieneman and Fischer. Fischer’s score was his first of the season and came off a feed from junior Ricky Cornetta at the 8:14 mark of the fourth quarter. Garrett scored the game’s final goal with 1:01 on the clock, but it was too little, too late as Lehigh won its fourth straight non-league contest at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
Asked afterwards about Lehigh’s defenders stepping into more of an offensive role versus St. John’s, Bradley replied, “Every one of our (long stick) poles is comfortable down the field. We work on those things everyday in practice, so if we’re open on offense and get the ball, we can do things out there.” He concluded, “The opportunities were there today and we took advantage of them.”
Lehigh returns to action on Tuesday evening when the Mountain Hawks close out their four-game homestand versus nationally ranked Delaware at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Game time is set for 7:00.