LEWISBURG, Pa. — Midfielder Thomas Flibotte tied a Bucknell freshman record with six goals, and the Bison rode an 11-goal first half to a 17-8 rout of No. 13 Drexel on Tuesday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Bucknell set a program record for largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent and improved to 5-1 with its fourth consecutive win.
Drexel (4-2) saw its four-game winning streak snapped. The Dragons suffered their first loss since an overtime setback at Virginia in the season opener.
Flibotte continues to impress early in his career. He scored six times on 10 attempts. Flibotte now leads the team with 16 goals in six games.
Chase Bailey racked up five points with three goals and two assists, Todd Heritage notched a hat trick in Bucknell’s seven-goal second quarter and rookie Brock Ghelfi recorded his first career hat trick. Freshman Sean Doyle had a goal and three assists and David Dickson added a goal and two assists, giving him a league-high 17 assists on the season.
Drexel was just 1-for-6 on clears in the first quarter and 10-for-17 for the game. Bucknell’s 11 forced turnovers in the first half and strong play from Ryan Gutowski at the faceoff tilted the field in favor of the Bison. They attempted the final 18 shots of the first quarter and outshot the Dragons 19-7 in the period, and then in the second quarter Bucknell scored on seven of its 10 attempts.
Drexel had a pair of early leads at 1-0 and 2-1. Flibotte tied the game at two with his first goal of the day, and then the Bison EMO unit hooked up twice late in the quarter to give them the lead for good. Drexel defenseman Tyler Houchins took consecutive penalties, one for a hold and one for a slash. Doyle picked out Bailey for a layup on the first EMO and 90 seconds later Doyle was on the receiving end of a Dickson feed to make it 4-2.
The teams alternated goals during the first eight minutes of the second quarter, but then the floodgates opened, as the Bison scored five times in the final 6:24. Heritage scored three of those, all right on the crease after quick passes from Dickson, Bailey and Doyle.
Heritage’s third goal put the Bison up 10-4 with 33 seconds left. Drexel won the ensuing faceoff and tried to play for a final shot, but a move by freshman defensive middie Alex Spring added one more to the Bucknell total. Spring knocked down a pass and picked up the ground ball. He then fed Bailey in the slot, and Bailey fired a shot home from 10-yards out with nine seconds left to make it 11-4. Spring earned the assist for his first collegiate point.
The Bison tacked on three more goals in both the third and fourth quarters, and goalie Kyle Feeney and the defense took it from there. Feeney made eight of his 10 saves in the second half, Bucknell held Drexel more than five goals under its season scoring average. Entering the game, the Dragons were ranked fifth nationally in scoring offense at 13.6 goals per game. Meanwhile, the Bison ranked second in the country in goals-against at 6.8 per game. Drexel had scored at least 11 goals in each of its first five games.
Bucknell finished with a 46-27 shot advantage and committed only nine turnovers, six of which came in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand. The Bison lead the nation in fewest turnovers per game (11.3).
Gutowski won 12 of his 25 faceoffs and picked up a career-high nine ground balls. Spring finished with four ground balls, and four other Bison had three each.
Flibotte was credited with three caused turnovers in riding situations. Perhaps the most impressive takeaway of the night came midway through the third quarter. Drexel goalie Cal Winkelman made a tough save on Heritage in close, but Heritage and Bailey both jumped to smother Winkelman’s outlet pass. Bailey picked up the loose ball just outside the crease and scored with a behind-the-back shot to give Bucknell a 13-5 lead.
Flibotte’s six goals tie the Bucknell freshman record. Kevin Roth scored six goals against Kutztown in his rookie year in 1989.