Posted: March 6, 2010
DENVER, Colo. – Down 13-10 with 9:54 to play, Lehigh scored the game’s final four goals including sophomore Cameron Lao-Gosney’s game-winner with no time on the clock as the Mountain Hawks downed Air Force 14-13 in dramatic fashion on day one of the DU Face-off Classic. Lehigh led just once on the afternoon and that came on Lao-Gosney’s goal at the very end to cap a frantic final few minutes of play. Lao-Gosney, Dante Fantoni and Brian Bienemann finished with three goals apiece for the Mountain Hawks, while Adam Paranka netted four scores for Air Force. With the win Lehigh evens its record at 2-2, while the Falcons fall to 0-2.
“The first quarter was not very good,” Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese said afterwards. “We came out with a lack of energy and Air Force really took it to us. I thought our backups provided a huge spark for our team and really got us back into the game.”
He continued, “The guys just battled all afternoon long. I told the team that the one thing we could control was how hard we play and I thought overall we did a great job of playing to the very end. Even the last play wasn’t pretty; Cameron got in there, picked up a ground ball and fired one into the back of the net to give us the win. We had a good practice yesterday, but we just came out flat. Fortunately we were able to re-group and ultimately pull this one out. I thought the fourth quarter was a defining moment for us. We were down two goals late and we were able to find ourselves a bit. We had to come to Denver to find what we were looking for.”
Lao-Gosney and Adam Johnston led the Brown and White with five shots each as the Mountain Hawks were credited with 37 shots as a team. Ryan Snyder won 14-of-21 in the X and also scooped up a game-high 11 ground balls. “Ryan Snyder had a huge day,” Cassese said. “He was phenomenal for us out there.” Senior captain Evan Guerrero forced three turnovers, while Mike Noone and Baxter Lanius caused two apiece. Freshman Dan Carr stopped seven shots in goal for Lehigh, and allowed just one score in that critical fourth quarter.
Air Force was credited with 32 shots, including seven from Ridge Flick and Jimmy Curran, while Zack Carroll was 10-of-17 on face-offs. Carroll also led the Falcons with four ground balls, while Flick and Paranka caused three turnovers apiece. In goal for Air Force, Brian Wilson stopped 12 shots in 60 minutes.
The Mountain Hawks found themselves in a 4-0 hole less than seven minutes into the game before Bienemann got them on the board for the first time with four minutes to go in the opening quarter. Fantoni then made it a two-goal game with his first score of the afternoon with 1:12 on the clock, sending the teams into the second quarter with LU trailing 4-2.
Johnston’s first goal of the day came with 11:48 remaining before halftime and brought Lehigh within one, but the Falcons ripped off three straight scores from there to take a 7-3 lead with 9:06 on the clock. Lao-Gosney scored for the first time with 7:29 to play in the half, but Paranka quickly responded with a goal of his own for the Falcons, making it an 8-4 game. Lehigh’s offense then started to get in gear as the Mountain Hawks went on a 3-0 run with goals by Roman Lao-Gosney, Fantoni and Bienemann in a span of just 1:58 to make it a one-goal affair. But Bryan Gilbreath put a stop to the Mountain Hawks run and Air Force took a 9-7 lead into intermission.
Bienemann brought Lehigh within 9-8 with the first goal of the second half, but Air Force answered again with a goal from Carroll and the Falcons were on top by two. Johnston’s seventh goal of the season came with 12:37 to play in the third, but Paranka had an answer to make it an 11-9 game. Jonathan Stumpg brought the Mountain Hawks within one with a goal at the 6:59 mark, but Air Force scored the final goal of the third and Tristan Newkirk scored the first goal in the fourth as the Falcons built a 13-10 lead with 9:54 remaining.
Cameron Lao-Gosney began Lehigh’s comeback when he scored with 6:39 to play off a feed from his brother, Roman. Fantoni then made it a one-goal game with his fourth score of the season with 5:18 to play. With just over a minute to go Johnston tied things at 13, setting the stage for Lao-Gosney’s heroics. The sophomore scooped up a ground ball off an Adam Johnston shot attempt, and rifled a shot of his own into the back of the net to lift Lehigh to a wild win in the Mile High State.
Lehigh gets very little time to celebrate its win as the Mountain Hawks will be right back in action on Sunday afternoon when they take on the host Denver Pioneers. The opening face-off is set for 3:30 eastern time.