Sophomore defenseman Mason Poli
Sophomore defenseman Mason Poli

Quinnipiac hands Bryant its first Northeast Conference loss in buzzerbeating fashion in 13-12 heartbreaker 

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Brendan Wilbur broke a 12-12 tie with no time left on the clock Friday night, scoring his second goal of the night – and the season – on a low shot that beat the buzzer by mere milliseconds to lift visiting Quinnipiac over the Bryant University men's lacrosse team in heartbreaking fashion, 13-12, at the Bryant Turf Complex.

The loss marks the Bulldogs' first-ever setback to a Northeast Conference member and comes in the first official NEC-sponsored contest in the sport. The loss also came despite a 9-5 Bryant (3-6, 0-1 NEC) advantage in the third quarter.

It would take Quinnipiac 14:55 to climb all the way out of the four-score hole, but at the 12:15 mark of the fourth frame, Basil Kostaras did just that for the Bobcats (3-4, 1-0), completing a four-goal run and tying the game at 9-9.

Sophomore defenseman Mason Poli (Downingtown, Pa.) would put Bryant back on top with 6:05 to play in the contest despite playing in a man-down situation, scoring his first tally of the season in unassisted fashion.

But the Bobcats needed just 16 seconds to return the favor and restore the deadlock – although it wouldn't last long. Jake Glebocki's unassisted goal was the first of three straight from Quinnipiac sticks, as a score from Kevin Kelly gave the Bobcats their first lead of the game with just 3:50 to play. Dylan Webster would make it a 12-10 Bobcat advantage at the 1:39 mark, putting a big task to a Bryant offense that has struggled to find the net all season long.

Just 18 ticks later, though, the Black and Gold proved they were up to the task, as Poli took a pass from junior Max Weisenberg (Long Beach, N.Y.) and fired right down the middle for a bounce shot that found net and cut the home side's deficit to one with 1:21 to go.

Only 17 seconds later, the duo hooked up again, only this time with Weisenberg recording the score off the helper from Poli to knot the contest for a fourth time, 11-11, with just 64 seconds remaining on the clock.

And when Trever Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) won the ensuing faceoff – one of a remarkable 21 such wins on the night – the Bulldogs called a timeout with 57 seconds left.

Bryant was going to set up and hold for the last shot, but before the Bulldogs could fire one, a big turnover sent the teams the other direction, as Quinnipiac cleared into its offensive zone and called a quick timeout of its own with just 13 seconds to play.

And despite heavy pressure from the Bulldogs' top defensive corps, the teams found both their fates in the hands of Wilbur, playing in just his second game of the season. With just a fraction of a second left, he let loose a shot from near the top of the box, and it found a home on the other side of goalie Jameson Love (Darien, Conn.) just as the buzzer sounded, signaling the 13-12 Quinnipiac victory.

The Bobcats scored six tallies in the fourth frame alone for the comeback win and outscored the home side, 9-4, after the break, but Bryant had the game's leading scorer in Weisenberg, who notched four goals and added a helper for a game-best five points on the night. He and Poli were the Bulldogs' only multi-goal scorers, as Bryant saw single scores from Trever Sipperly, rookies Dan Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) and Matt Bletzer (Medfield, Mass.), sophomore Peter McMahon (Wilton, Conn.), junior Travis Harrington (Vestal, N.Y.) and senior Gary Crowley (Scituate, Mass.).

Harrington added a pair of assists for a three-point day while Bletzer, Weisenberg and Crowley also chipped in helpers to complement goals in the outing. Evan Roberts (West Cornwall, Vt.) and JK Poirier (Coatesville, Pa.) each recorded a point with assists in the affair as well.

Trever Sipperly was outstanding from the faceoff X, winning 21-of-25 restarts to pace the Bulldogs to a 23-of-28 mark from the X all night. Of his 21 wins, he recorded the ground ball on 19 of them for a game high in the category to lead Bryant to a whopping 44-22 ground ball margin in the game. Sipperly nearly doubled his ground ball total on the year, entering the game with 25 in the previous eight contests.

Between the pipes, Kevin Benzing made eight saves for the win, while Love registered eight stops of his own in the losing effort.

The Bulldogs will have to come out strong in their next outing as Bryant must now prepare for a impending matchup with intrastate rival Brown University in just four days. The Bears visit the Bryant Turf Complex Tuesday at 7 p.m.