NEWARK, DE -- The University of Delaware rallied all the way back from
an early five-goal deficit to take the lead midway through the final
stanza, but Bucknell scored the game's final two goals to post a 9-8
non-league men's lacrosse victory at chilly Delaware Stadium Saturday
The loss in the home opener spoiled an outstanding performance from
senior attackman Eric Smith, who scored a career-high four goals,
including one with 8:27 left in the final quarter that gave Delaware its
first lead of the day. No. 18 ranked Bucknell (1-0) pulled out the
victory in its season opener as Brock Ghelfi tied the game with a goal
with 6:12 remaining and Thomas Flibotte netted the game-winner with 3:30
left on the clock.
The game was played in 34 degree conditions with a wind chill factor of
22 thanks to 20-mile per hour winds that howled the entire game.
Delaware (1-1), which opened its season last Saturday with a 12-10
victory over High Point, was attempting to start out 2-0 for the fourth
straight year. Instead the Hens dropped their home opener for the first
time since 2002 after 10 straight wins and had a personal 21-game win
streak over the Bison snapped. The Blue Hens, who defeated Bucknell
11-10 in overtime last February in Lewisburg, Pa., fell to the Bison for
the first time since 1974.
Smith, who returned to action this season after missing all of the 2012
campaign with a back injury, also dished out an assist vs. Bucknell and
recorded his fourth career hat trick. Connor McRoy added two goals for
the second straight game for the Hens while Danny Keane and Nick
Diachenko also tallied goals for the Hens. Goalkeeper Chris Herbert
recorded 10 saves in the nets while Tyler Barbarich won 11 of 17 faceoff
Todd Heritage led Bucknell with three goals while Flibotte and Ghelfi
each scored twice, Chase Bailey had a goal and an assists, David Dickson
dished out three assists, and Peter Burke contributed two helpers.
Goalkeeper Kyle Feeney earned the win behind 11 saves.
The game statistics were as even as the score as both teams had 30
shots, Delaware held a slight 29-27 advantage in groundballs, and
Delaware had just four more turnovers than the Bison.
Bucknell stormed out to a quick 5-0 lead as Heritage scored twice in the
final three minutes of the opening stanza and Sean Doyle tallied just 36
seconds into the second period. But Delaware settled down and started
its comeback. McRoy finally got the Hens on the board just one minute
after Doyle's goal and Keane and Diachenko followed with scores of their
own to cut the deficit to 5-3. Flibotte scored with just 2:26 left in
the opening stanza to send Bucknell into intermission up 6-4.
The Hens continued their comeback in the second half as Smith scored
twice and McRoy once in a span of 2:13 early in the stanza to knot the
score at 6-6. Heritage gave Bucknell the lead back at 7-6 with his third
goal of the game on a man-up situation with 5:39 left in the third
quarter, but Smith was the man for Delaware once again he scored with
11:10 left in the game to tied the score at 7-7 and then tallied his
fourth goal just under two minutes later to give UD its first lead of
the contest at 8-7.
However, the lead would be short-lived for the Hens as Ghelfi tied the
game for the third time with his goal at the 6:12 mark and Flibotte
netted the game-winner with 3:30 remaining. Delaware had several chances
to tie the game in the closing minutes but an errant pass by Smith with
2:25 left turned the ball over, Bucknell's Feeney saved a shot by Smith
with 29 seconds left, and McRoy turned the ball over near the Bison net
just before the final horn.
The Blue Hens will return home next Saturday to face a stiff challenge
as they take on defending NCAA national champion Loyola (Md.) at 3 p.m.
at Delaware Stadium.
Scoring Summary (Goals-Assists):
Bucknell - Todd Heritage, 3-0; Thomas Flibotte, 2-0; Brock Ghelfi, 2-0;
Chase Bailey, 1-1; Sean Doyle, 1-0; David Dickson, 0-3; Peter Burke, 0-2.
Delaware - Eric Smith, 4-1; Connor McRoy, 2-0; Danney Keane, 1-1; Nick
Diachenko, 1-0; Brian Kormandy, 0-1.
Shots: B - 30, D - 30; Groundballs: B - 27, D - 29; Saves: B - 11 (Kyle
Feeney), D - 10 (Chris Herbert, 58:33 min., 9 goals, 10 assists; Conor
Peaks, 1:27-0-0); Turnovers: B - 10, D - 14; Faceoffs: B - 8, D - 13;
Clears: B - 17 of 19, D - 15 of 19; Penalties: B - 2 for 1:30, D- 5 for
4:00; Extra Man Goals: B - 1 for 5, D - 0 for 1; Attendance: 578.