Clarkson’s Double OT Winner Sends the Raiders to Semis

Mont Pooley

In a characteristically low-scoring contest, the Army Black Knights held off a late Colgate rally to secure an 8-7 victory at Andy Kerr Stadium. The loss dropped the Raiders’ record to 8-5 heading into postseason play. The Black Knights came to Hamilton boasting the NCAA’s best defense, and Colgate’s own defensive unit, allowing 7.83 goals per game, ranked sixth nationally.

“We knew it would be a tight game defensively,” sophomore midfielder Eric Foote said. “There were some bright spots for us on offense, but, at the end of the day, we just didn’t finish on enough of our opportunities.”

The game’s first half was a physical affair, as each offense struggled to beat the oppositions’ stout defense and strong goaltending. Junior attackman Ryan Walsh broke through for the game’s first goal with ten minutes to play in the first quarter, but the remainder of the half belonged to Army. Three straight goals, including two from standout West Point attackman John Glesener, gave Army the early 3-1 lead.

“The first half was definitely a low-scoring battle,” senior defensive captain Bobby Lawrence said. “Giving up three in two quarters is alright, but I think Brandon [Burke] stole a few off of the board for us.” Burke, the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, was impressive in net in the first half, making five saves on eight shots.

Walsh again opened the scoring in the second half, this time delivering a 12-yard bullet to the top right corner. Glesener answered shortly thereafter to reestablish Army’s two-goal cushion, but Colgate’s Eric Foote found the back of the net to keep the Raiders in the mix.

“They were slow to slide to me when I dodged from up top,” Walsh, the second-team All-Patriot League selection, said. “I had a lot of freedom to make some space for myself throughout the game.” Army netted two more goals in the high-scoring third period, but senior attackman Brendon McCann capped the period with a goal in the final two minutes to pull Colgate within two.

The beginning of the fourth quarter saw the teams continue to exchange goals. Army scored seven seconds in, but Walsh quickly answered with another step-down shot to the top corner. Army’s Connor Cook tallied to give the Black Knights their third three-goal lead of the game with 11 minutes to play, at which point both defenses returned to first-half form, allowing no goals for a period of more than six minutes.

“We had trouble getting inside of their perimeter towards the end there,” McCann said. “We settled for some outside shots and rung a few of the post.” Bent on breaking through Army’s tough defensive exterior, McCann dodged hard from the wing twice in the game’s final five minutes, netting two clutch tallies and securing his second hat trick in as many weeks.

Down one with a minute to play, junior face-off specialist Alex Kinnealey won a critical draw and delivered the ball to the Raider attack. Walsh dodged to the center of the field and released a sneaky left-handed shot that fooled the Army keeper but narrowly missed the goalmouth and settled in the outside of the netting.

“I thought I had a clear shot at the end there,” Walsh, who was seeking his fourth goal of the game with the final shot, said. “I think I had him beat, but the ball was just wide.” The Raiders then readied to face Bucknell in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament. Colgate won the regular season match-up 9-8 at Andy Kerr Stadium, but the Raiders were wary of how things can change over the course of a season.

In a close contest throughout, the Raiders battled the Bison to a tie at halftime. Adams’ two goals in the first half kept pace with the high-powered Bison offense. In the second half, the Bison came out with three unanswered goals, but the Raiders slowly worked their way back, including a third goal from Adams to complete the hat trick.

With the game tied at 8, Kinnealey took the faceoff the distance and pushed the Raiders in the lead, but a Bison goal on the man-up tied the game back up as regulation came to an end. In the first overtime, the Raiders controlled possession for a majority before Walsh ringed a shot off the post. The four minute sudden death period remained scoreless and the teams headed to a second overtime period.

After Walsh called for the ball, his attack to the net drew a penalty on the Bison. After working it around the cage, Clarkson took the ball off a shot that hit the post and put it past the Bison goalie for the

10-9 victory. Clarkson’s goal pushes the Raiders into the Patriot League Semifinals. The Raiders will face the Loyola Hounds Friday April 25 at 5 p.m. in Baltimore. A victory will send the Raiders to the Championship.

Contact Mont Pooley at [email protected]