BETHLEHEM, Pa. - #17/19 Lehigh and #18 Penn went back and forth in a defensive display, but it was the Quakers who came out victorious as they downed the Mountain Hawks 6-4 on Tuesday evening at the Ulrich Sports Complex. Senior defenseman Mike Noone was stellar, posting a career-high six caused turnovers to go with five groundballs as Lehigh caused 13 of Penn’s 19 turnovers on the evening. Senior Griffin Farha made 10 saves in goal, including seven in the third quarter to keep the Mountain Hawks within striking distance.
“We took some poor shots, especially early on that made us lose some confidence,” said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. “If you told me we would’ve held them to six goals, I thought we would win the game, but unfortunately our offense let us down a little bit in the end. While we played together and supported each other on the defensive end, we didn’t do that on the offensive end and that’s why we scored four goal.”
Senior Dante Fantoni and Kyle Stiefel each had a goal and assist while senior Brian Hess and junior Cody Ferraro added Lehigh’s other markers. Freshman Tripp Telesco posted three groundballs and a caused turnover while junior Ty Souders had two groundballs and a caused turnover as well.
“I think that’s a product of our system - all our guys playing the way they should play and Mike [Noone] just being in the right spots,” said Cassese. “He’s a great talent and we know what we’re going to get with him. We just need a total team effort to get some wins.”
Lehigh struggled to beat Penn goalie Brian Feeney, who made a career-high 17 saves between the pipes. Six different Quakers scored goals as they improved to 3-1 overall.
“Penn played very well defensively, had a good plan and executed the plan,” said Cassese. “Obviously their goaltender made some great shots. He’s very good; we know him well.”
The Mountain Hawks had the upper hand in the early going, owning a 9-3 shot advantage after one quarter of play, but Feeney made seven saves to shut-out Lehigh through the first 15 minutes. Penn got goals from Will Laco at 3:13 and Ryan Parietti at 2:06 to take a 2-0 lead.
Lehigh answered with two straight in the second quarter to even the score. Fantoni beat Feeney from a tough angle at 11:18 before Hess made it 2-2 at 8:09. However, the Quakers’ Joe McCallion scored a big goal with less than a minute until halftime to give them a 3-2 advantage.
Penn’s Nick Dokotor scored the only goal of the third quarter as the Quakers owned a 11-5 shot advantage, but Farha stood tall to keep Lehigh within 4-2 after three quarters of play.
Ferraro scored his first goal of the season at 13:03, beating Feeney low to pull Lehigh within one, but Penn answered at 8:46 and 3:04 to take its largest lead (6-3) with 3:04 remaining. Stiefel added a man-up goal with 29 seconds remaining, but it proved too little, too late.
Lehigh held the final edge in shots (32-27) and groundballs (28-25). The Mountain Hawks won 8-of-14 faceoffs as senior Ryan Snyder was 5-for-8 and junior Ryan Buttenbaum 3-for-6.
Lehigh will head to PPL Park for the Whitman’s Sampler Independence Classic against #12/13 Penn State on Saturday at 5 p.m. That game follows St. John’s vs. Syracuse at 12 p.m. and Penn vs. Villanova at 2:30 p.m. All three games will air on ESPN3.
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