Posted: February 14, 2010
PHILADELPHIA – Lehigh earned a hard-fought 7-6 victory over Saint Joseph’s in the Mountain Hawks’ 2010 season opener on Sunday afternoon. The game, which was played at historic Franklin Field, was originally slated for Saturday but got re-scheduled due to the recent snowstorm. Lehigh jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on the Hawks and led 4-2 at halftime, but the Mountain Hawks found themselves down 6-5 in the second half before rallying for the 7-6 win. Sophomore Adam Johnston completed a hat trick with his game-winning goal in the final three minutes of play off an assist from freshman David DiMaria to move Lehigh to 1-0 in 2010. Saint Joseph’s falls to 0-2 following the setback.
“If you take a look at our hustle stats from today, we outshot our opponent, we out ground-balled them and I thought we carried the pace of play for the entire game,” Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese said afterwards. “We battled back in the fourth quarter; I think we proved we could win the game in the first three quarters and we went out and showed it in the fourth. Give a lot of credit to Saint Joseph’s. Their zone defense baffled us. We are an inexperienced offense and it showed today.”
Lehigh out-shot the Hawks 37-23 on the afternoon and picked up 29 ground balls to the home team’s 14. Dan Carr scooped up five of those ground balls, while Ben Kelley scooped up four. Carr also played the entire 60 minutes in goal and stopped 10 shots during that time and Roman Lao-Gosney was the leader in caused turnovers with two. Will Scudder won 12-of-17 face-offs and scooped up a pair of ground balls, while DiMaria finished with two goals and a pair of assists.
Cassese singled out several Mountain Hawks who played impressive games on Sunday. “Will Scudder had a great day for us. He took every face-off and did a terrific job. Dan Carr had a strong game with a number of big saves and in front of him I thought Evan Guerrero did a great job with his play and setting a tone for the entire defense. We received great leadership from Kyle Gentile all afternoon long and David DiMaria was excellent in his first game.”
Griffin Ferrigan played all 60 minutes in goal for the Hawks and stopped 23 shots during that time, while three different Hawks scooped up two ground balls each. Sean Evans caused four turnovers and Matt Dougherty was the team leader with two goals.
Lehigh jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first ten minutes of play as DiMaria, Johnston and Jonathan Stumpf each scored goals for the Brown and White. Sean Dunn got Saint Joseph’s on the board for the first time with only 11 ticks to play which sent the teams into the second quarter with the Mountain Hawks on top 3-1.
Evans scored the first goal of the next quarter, but not until nearly 13 minutes had gone by. Roman Lao-Gosney answered for the Brown and White however, and Lehigh took a 4-2 lead into intermission.
Johnston took a pass from DiMaria and found the back of the net less than two minutes into the third quarter and Lehigh was comfortably in front 5-2, but Saint Joseph’s erupted for the next four goals, including one from Dougherty with 13:38 left in the final stanza which put Lehigh in a 6-5 hole. The Mountain Hawks kept battling though and DiMaria tied things at six with an unassisted score at the 7:27 mark. Johnston then won it for the Brown and White with his third score of the day, this one coming with 3:20 on the clock off a feed from DiMaria.
Lehigh returns to the field next weekend when the Mountain Hawks head to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to face the nationally ranked Tar Heels. The opening face-off is set for noon.
Cassese spoke of what Lehigh needs to focus on moving forward. “Fundamentals are the name of our game. When we make good decisions and we play our game, we are going to be a tough team to play, but if we aren’t executing and we’re not paying attention to detail we’ll be our own worst enemy. We need to continue to work on all the little things.”