Larson nets game winner in double OT, 10-9

Larson nets game winner in double OT, 10-9


SMITHFIELD, R.I. -- Sophomore Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.) tied the game with 25 seconds to play in regulation and senior midfielder Matt Larson (Cheshire, Conn.) needed just 25 ticks of the second overtime to net the game winner as the Bryant University men's lacrosse team took a 10-9 thriller in extra time over Stony Brook University Saturday at Bulldog Stadium.

The Bulldogs (5-2) outshot the Seawolves (1-7), 5-0, in the overtime periods and controlled the momentum despite giving up what was a 7-5 halftime lead. A slow start to the second half allowed Stony Brook to knot the game at 7-7, and the Seawolves rode the scoring wave into the fourth with an early tally from Cole Millican for their first lead of the contest, 8-7, with 11:45 to play.

Bo Redpath (Norwich, Vt.) evened the game at 8-8 at the 9:15 mark with his second goal of both the contest and the season off a pass from linemate Kyle Crowley (Scituate, Mass.), but Stony Brook responded with another unassisted score, this one from longpole JJ Laforet, two minutes later to hand the Bulldogs a 9-8 deficit with 7:13 to play.

Bryant would need nearly all of that remaining time to net the game-tying goal and force overtime, too, running the clock down to 25 seconds before Dunster took a lateral pass from classmate Alex Zomerfeld (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) and fired the shot that would end regulation in a 9-9 knot.

"Colin lets the game come to him," said head coach Mike Pressler. "We put Colin in the spot to make a play, and fortunately, he did. It was another great play by an exciting sophomore, and he's made those plays all year for us."

The Bulldogs again turned to Dunster in the first overtime session, with the sophomore firing two of the team's four shots, including one less than a minute in that rocketed off the shaft of Stony Brook goalie Sean Brady's stick.

Senior Travis Harrington (Vestal, N.Y.) had a scoring chance of his own with 1:49 left, but his shot from the doorstep was also denied by Brady in arguably the junior's biggest save of the game.

But in the second extra frame, the home side capitalized on an opening faceoff win by rookie Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) -- who won both overtime faceoffs and went 16-of-24 on the day from the X -- as junior Mason Poli (Downingtown, Pa.) took control of the ball and headed downfield toward the Seawolves' cage.

But Poli ran into trouble near the top of the box and found himself double-teamed by a pair of Stony Brook defenders. Nearly turning the ball over under the heavy pressure, Poli maintained control long enough to shovel a pass out to Larson, and the senior pulled back and fired the shot that would finally put the game to bed, scoring the game winner just 25 seconds in.

"I was not going to call a timeout, because Mason is as good an offensive player with the longpole as our offensive guys are," said Pressler. "Mason made that little shovel pass, and Matt Larson got the shot off. And it was incredible where he put that shot -- near-pipe, off-hip -- and that was the winner."

The Bulldogs outshot the Seawolves, 40-32, in the double-overtime victory, and the hosts dominated the ground ball game, 43-28. Massa once again led that charge, picking up a game-high 10 ground balls while winning 66.7 percent of the game's faceoffs, while senior goalie Jameson Love (Darien, Conn.) recorded eight ground balls to compliment 11 saves and a trio of caused turnovers.

The Bulldogs got a pair of goals from Larson, Dunster, Redpath and junior captain Peter McMahon (Wilton, Conn.) on the day, and McMahon tied the game-high four points, adding two assists to his effort. Bryant also saw goals from junior Cody Isdaner (Gladwyne, Pa.) and rookie Brian Schlansker (Glenville, N.Y.), as the home side owned 5-2 and 6-3 leads midway through the second quarter before allowing the Seawolves to claw their way back in it after the break.

"We wanted this one," said Pressler. "We had won three in a row coming into it, and we were a very hungry team down the stretch. To come from behind -- to have the lead, to lose the lead, and to come back and win in the end -- at home in front of our fans and alumni, we couldn't have picked a better time."

With the win, the Bulldogs are a perfect 4-0 at home on the season and currently boast a four-game winning streak that has stretched the entire month of March. Bryant will put that streak on the line Tuesday night, as the team travels to Providence, R.I., to take on Providence College at 7 p.m. in search of the first step toward winning back-to-back Ocean State Cup titles.