Copeland's goal in double-overtime lifts Dominican (Calif.) past Colorado Mesa
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- Dalton Copeland capped a thrilling come-from-behind win for the Dominican (Calif.) on Sunday, scoring a sudden-death goal at the 2:34 mark of the second overtime period as the red-hot Penguins rallied from a 3-0 halftime deficit to an 8-7 victory at Colorado Mesa.
The win, the fourth in a row by Dominican, pushed the first-place Penguins (6-4) into a two-game lead in the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association standings (4-0) with two games remaining. They beat defending league champion Colorado Mesa (5-4, 3-2 WILA) for the second time this season and avenged a bitter 5-4 loss to the Mavericks in Grand Junction, Colo., exactly one year ago, a defeat that denied Dominican of winning the tiebreaker.
However, the Penguins needed a remarkable rally and a game-tying goal by freshman Cody Bernstein with 1:17 remaining in regulation to force overtime.
“We beat a very good team on their home field. It's not easy,” Dominican head coach Ned Webster said. “I'm just proud of the guys being down at halftime and believing that the ball was going to find the net. We just believed we didn't need to do anything special. We just needed to play [well].”
Copeland, Cam Evangelho, Grant Clifford and Bernstein tallied two goals apiece. Clifford set up Copeland for the game-winner in overtime after teammates Jake Fritz and Jake Craycraft took aim at the net but thought better.
“To be mentally tough, sometimes you have to pass up a good shot for a great shot,” Webster said. “We swung it to Dalton and he's a big strong guy and he had a head of steam going down the alley and he stuck it.”
Copeland's game-winner was made possible by Bernstein's dramatic game-tying tally after Colorado Mesa had come back from a 6-4 deficit to grab a 7-6 lead with three minutes to go. Older brother, Jake Bernstein, assisted on Cody's goal.
“He had some time and room and shot a high bouncer over the goalie's shoulder that was pretty sweet,” Webster said.
It had been an uphill battle for Dominican until that point. The Penguins overcame an auspicious start in the first half. Webster rallied his players at halftime with a pointed pep talk.
“There were certain guys who were taking the game personally,” Webster said. “I told them we need to be professional and focus on the game and that's exactly what we did in the second half. We focused on ourselves.”
The Penguins responded by scoring the first three goals of the second half. Copeland's first goal of the game, with an assist from Trevor Garner, allowed Dominican to finally seize the lead, 5-4. A minute later, Clifford scored his second goal of the game and 16th of the season for a 6-4 advantage.
The Mavericks came back to regain the lead before Cody Bernstein's 17th goal of the year tied it. He finished with four points, raising his team-leading point total to 34. Kevin Powers contributed two assists and is now second on the Penguins in points with 24.
The Penguins, who are first in the country in Division II in man-up offense, scored two more man-up goals in the game, both by Evangelho. He tops the team with 19 goals, 10 with his team holding a man advantage. Five other Dominican players -- Cody Bernstein, Clifford, Copeland, Fritz and Powers -- now have double-digit goals this season, as well.