The Binghamton men’s lacrosse team survived a furious Stony Brook comeback on Saturday to earn its first win over the Seawolves since 2005. The 14-13 road victory was the Bearcats’ (5-5, 1-1 America East) first conference win of the season.
“It was exciting for a lot of reasons,” Binghamton head coach Scott Nelson said. “First of all we hadn’t beat that team in eight or nine years and to beat somebody on the road is always exciting, so it was great … We kind of let a big lead slip away, but the guys settled down in overtime and did a great job.”
Leading 13-4 with just under six minutes left in the third quarter, Binghamton (5-5, 1-1 AE) allowed a 9-0 run by Stony Brook (6-5, 1-1) that was capped off by a game-tying shot from freshman attack Brody Eastwood to force overtime with 57 seconds remaining. The score was Eastwood’s third of the game and second of the spurt, which saw goals from seven different Stony Brook players.
Binghamton junior midfield Alex Doerflein won the opening faceoff in overtime, but a turnover by the Bearcats gave the ball to the Seawolves with three minutes remaining. Nelson called a timeout, where he told his players to get the ball back and look for junior midfield Michael Antinozzi, the team’s second leading scorer.
Coming out of the pause, the Bearcats set about executing Nelson’s game plan. Senior midfield Shane Warner forced a turnover that was scooped up by Binghamton junior goalie Max Schefler. Schefler cleared the ball, which found Antinozzi, who netted a shot from 10 yards away for the victory.
Antinozzi’s goal was his second of the game and 16th of the year.
But it was junior attack Matt Springer that led the Binghamton offensive effort once again, scoring a game-high six goals on eight shots to tie a career best. Springer was named America East Co-Player of the Week for his performance.
When asked why the overtime strategy was to get the ball to Antinozzi rather than Springer, Nelson pointed out the players’ differences.
“Springer is not a dodger, Antinozzi is,” he said. “So there’s a chance that Antinozzi would have passed it to Springer for the winner, but they didn’t cover Antinozzi very well that play so he wound up with a shot on his own, because they’re very different players. Mike creates things, whereas Matt gets more open and puts in the finishes. We had to have somebody create it first.”
Doerflein tied a career best with 13 ground balls, and set a career best by winning 19 faceoffs, an area that appeared shaky for the Bearcats heading into the season.
Senior Tyler Perrelle also tied a career best with three assists, bringing his point total on the day to four.
A shot from Eastwood less than three minutes into the game opened up scoring, which remained tight until a 7-1 run from Binghamton put the Bearcats ahead 10-3 with over 12 minutes left in the third. Two of the Bearcats’ seven goals came from Springer, who had scored a pair earlier in the first period.
An unassisted score from Stony Brook freshman midfield Challen Rogers would break up the Bearcats’ run, but Binghamton would get two more scores from Springer and one from junior attack Brandon Planck before the Seawolves embarked on their streak of nine unanswered goals.
Springer’s six-goal performance brought his goal total to 23 on the year, making him the first player in program history to score 20 or more goals in each of his first three seasons.
“He’s very capable of doing that a lot,” Nelson said of Springer’s six-goal outing. “He’s such a good shooter. I think it was neat to see him really have a great game. And a lot of the plays were off hustle and then a couple more were off guys setting him up real nice with great passes.”
Binghamton is scheduled to return home on Saturday for a 1 p.m. match against Hartford at the Bearcats Sports Complex.