After receiving votes in two national polls for the second straight week and recording an America East (AE) win against Vermont this past Saturday, the Binghamton men’s lacrosse team defeated Canisius, 11-7, on Tuesday afternoon. The nonconference victory stretched the Bearcats’ winning streak to six.
The Bearcats (7-1, 2-0 AE) were led by redshirt senior attack Tom Moore as he swerved through three Canisius (4-5, 2-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) defenders and ripped a shot on the cage with four minutes left in the third quarter to put BU up, 7-4. Moore recorded seven points on the day with three goals and four assists.
“[Moore’s] seeing the field well,” said BU head coach Kevin McKeown. “He’s drawing a lot of attention when he dodges and drawing double teams, so he’s really done a great job of finding the open guys within our offense.”
The Bearcats’ offense wasted no time finding the back of the net early in the first quarter, as four different players tallied goals. Binghamton repeatedly found the openings in the Golden Griffins’ defense, allowing Moore to feed the ball inside and record three of his four assists before the second quarter.
That momentum slowed for the Bearcats when the Golden Griffins’ defense made adjustments going into the second quarter and extended pressure onto the Binghamton offense. Senior midfielder Tyler Deluca scored the only goal of the quarter and Canisius responded with one minute and 21 seconds left in the half, cutting the Bearcats’ lead to 5-3.
Canisius continued its climb in the second half when junior attack Ryan McKee recorded a hat trick to bring his squad within a goal. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that Binghamton found its groove again and scored three quick goals to widen that gap.
“[Freshman midfielder] Brendan Patterson came in the second half to take the faceoff for us and gave us a little energy and turned the tables a little bit,” McKeown said.
Patterson went 8-11 on faceoffs in the second half and gave the Bearcats the possession they needed to re-establish their comfortable advantage.
While the BU offense was struggling to capitalize on opportunities, the defense worked to keep the Griffins from creeping in. That began with shutting down McKee after his hat trick.
“He was a quick, small kid and we were throwing too many checks when we were guarding him,” McKeown said. “We just talked to our defenders about throwing less checks, taking his body and really trying to stay low with him.”
Those checks also sent Bearcats to the sideline often, giving Canisius four man-up opportunities, only one of which they capitalized on.
“Our strategy man-down has been to take away the crease shots and the pipe shots and force some outside shots that [senior goaltender] Tanner [Cosens] has a much better chance of saving,” McKeown said.
Now 7-1, Binghamton has re-established its presence as a team to beat in both conference and nonconference play.
“Our main focus is going to be doing what we do well and controlling the things we can control,” McKeown said. “Keep winning the ground ball battle, keep forcing the outside shots on defense, sharing the ball offensively and eliminating any sloppy turnovers, which was one thing we did yesterday.”
The Bearcats will take that strategy into Saturday’s nonconference matchup against Lafayette, before returning to conference play next week. Saturday’s game is set for noon at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.