April 2, 2009

Courtesy of Montclair St.

Montclair, NJ (4/1/09) – Junior attack Jon Bucknam (Flemington, NJ / Hunterdon Central) scored the first and last goals for Drew, including the game-winner 14 seconds into the second overtime as the Rangers  slipped past Montclair State, 8-7 in an NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse game played at a rain-soaked Sprague Field on Wednesday evening.


Junior goalkeeper Brian Mendelson (Owings Mills, MD / The Park School) made five saves over the second half and overtime periods as the Rangers won their fifth straight, improving to 5-3 on the season. Drew’s win against also came nearly 20 years to the day of one of the most bizarre finishes in the 23-game series between the teams. Drew now leads the series, 12-11 with their second consecutive win over the Red Hawks.


Freshman attack Tyler Meth (Basking Ridge, NJ / Ridge) had three goals, including the tying goal with 91 seconds left for Montclair State, which fell to 6-4 on the year.


An evenly-played contest, Tyler Morse (Middletown, NJ / Minisink Valley) gave Drew the lead with 2:41 to go as he collected an unassisted tally. Montclair State would win the ensuing faceoff, one of four it would win the entire game. MSU would work the ball around and Meth got off a shot that missed high with 1:56 to play. Maintaining possession, senior Tyler Meixner (Hamburg, NJ / Vernon), working behind the net, found a cutting Meth in front for the tying goal with 1:31 to play. The Red Hawks would win the next faceoff and get a last opportunity, however Robert Sinicola’s (North Caldwell, NJ / West Essex) shot with three seconds left was blocked and the game headed into overtime.


In the first extra-period, Drew would get first possession, however Morse had his shot blocked. Back came MSU the other way. Mario Passafiume (Boonton, NJ / Mountain Lakes) would be denied by Mendelson and despite picking up the loose ball, Montclair turned it back over to Drew. The Rangers after calling time out with 38 seconds left, then worked the ball around and got a great look by Greg Reading Pennington, NJ / Hopewell Valley) with five seconds left, but Thomas Bowers (Hamburg, NJ / Pope John XXIII) made the stop and the game headed into a second overtime.


It would not take the Rangers long to score the decisive goal. Jon Dowiak (Hackettstown, NJ / West Morris Central) won his 16th faceoff of the game (in 20 attempts) and Drew quickly drove the ball up the field. Bucknam, who netted a game-high four goals, would get a pass on the left side and make a move toward goal before unleashing a shot that flew past Bowers inside the right post for the game-winner.


As quick as Bucknam scored in the second OT, his first came in half that time as he tallied seven seconds into the contest. The time was just one second off the Division III record of seven seconds set by Kevin Dennstaedt of Messiah versus Scranton in 2001 and equaled by Farmingdale’s Matt Ramacca, against Montclair State in 2004.


Montclair State would scored the next three as Taylor Bonner, (Old Bridge, NJ / Old Bridge), Miexner and Meth each scored as MSU led 3-1 after one period. Drew would tie the game early in the second and after a goal by Meth put Montclair back in front, Bucknam scored his second with 1:11 left before intermission as the game was tied 4-4.

Bucknam’s third goal with 1:55 left in the third gave the Rangers a 6-4 advantage, but Sinicola got MSU within 6-5 as he scored with 21 seconds left. Bonner knotted the game for a fifth time as he collected his second with 12:29 to go in the fourth.


Bowers finished with 12 saves for Montclair State while Michael Celentano (Bedminster, NJ / Mendham) made five in the first half for Drew. Dowiak won an incredible 16-of-20 faceoffs and added six ground balls as did Sean McNulty (Oakdale, NJ / Sayville). Anthony Dzienkiewcz (Clifton, NJ / Clifton) had three ground balls for Montclair State, which held a 33-30 advantage in shots.


Twenty years ago, the two teams met at Sprague Field with Montclair State a perfect 6-0. Tied at 7-7 in the third overtime, the Rangers appeared to score the game-winning goal and celebrated. However, a Drew player had left the penalty area two seconds before his expiring penalty. After being tracked down into the locker room, the officials waved off the goal and brought the teams back out on to the field. Less than three minutes later, Montclair State would score for an 8-7 win en route to the only perfect season in program history.


Montclair State is now off until Wednesday, April 8 as the Red Hawks face Kean University in a rematch of their Skyline Conference Championship Game from last year. Face-off of the contest is set for 8:00 pm at Sprague Field. Drew is home to Cabrini for a 2:30 start in Madison, NJ on Saturday, April 4.