HAMILTON – Colgate-Bucknell Part II wasn't decided until Overtime Part II. And it took a second chance to win it.
Matt Clarkson followed his own saved shot midway in the second extra session and slammed the rebound home from point-blank range to lift Colgate to a 10-9 victory over Bucknell here Tuesday.
The Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal win advances the Raiders into Friday's semifinals against nationally No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Loyola in Baltimore. Start time from Ridley Athletic Complex is 4:30 p.m.
“I don't know that we played our best, but we played our hardest,” Colgate head coach Mike Murphy said. “I was very happy with the toughness my team showed today.
“It wasn't any different (than the first meeting). There were two very good teams.”
Colgate edged Bucknell 9-8 back on March 1, and that game ended up being the seeding tiebreaker for two squads that posted 4-4 conference marks. Tuesday, the stakes were higher and the quality of play was off the charts.
There were six ties and three lead changes. Colgate grabbed an early 2-1 advantage but then fell behind and trailed for most of the game. The Bison led by scores of 4-2 and 7-4 in this see-saw affair. Colgate scored twice in 11 seconds late in the fourth for a 9-8 lead, but Bucknell answered and sudden-death ensued.
The initial extra period was scoreless, but the Bison were whistled for a pushing penalty with 2:17 showing in the second overtime. That opened the door for Colgate, and Clarkson made it count. His first shot was saved by Bucknell's Sam Grinberg -- Grinberg's 16th stop of the day – but the ball bounced straight back to Clarkson and the junior didn't miss.
“The ball just bounced my way on that last shot,” Clarkson said. “I heard a shot call from one of my teammates and I hit the pipe or the goalie, and it just spun my way.”
One day after being named to the All-Patriot League first team, Clarkson scored two goals and assisted on two more. He's up to third on the team with 25 points, and his 13 assists are tied for team honors.
“We missed on a couple of chances in the (first) overtime period and then we were lucky enough to get a push in the back in the second one and draw a flag,” he said. “We drew up a play that we thought we could catch them on.”
Clarkson was clutch with his game-winner, but Alex Kinnealey was clutch all game long from the faceoff-X. The Patriot League leader in faceoff percentage and ground balls set career game highs in both categories to tilt the field Colgate's way all afternoon.
2 For $30 Men's and Women's adidas Ultimate Short-Sleeve Tees at SportsAuthority.com “Their short-stick faceoff guys were having a tough year, so we were preparing all week for their poles,” Kinnealey said. “Luckily, I had great wing play and I was able to win it back to some defensemen and they would streak up the field.”
Kinnealey finished 19 of 23 on faceoffs and picked up 17 grounds balls. His previous game highs were 17 faceoff wins and 12 ground balls April 12 against Holy Cross.
The junior specialist also scored his second goal of the year, and this one had the makings of a game-winner. Cameron Williams had tied it 8-8 with 4:55 remaining when Kinnealey won yet another faceoff.
And this time he had bigger plans than just possession.
“They sent a shortie back out there facing off so I looked over at my wings and saw I had an opportunity to take it forward if I wanted to,” Kinnealey said. “I took a chance, popped it forward and just outran – surprisingly – the other guys and put it on my left hand and stuck it in.
“I was just glad to get my chance and get the team ahead.”
Todd Heritage's fourth goal of the game, off David Dickson's fourth assist, tied the game 9-9 with 3:18 showing to set up the overtime periods. Ryan Joseph also scored four goals for the Bison.
“One of the stats that was really impressive to me is we scooped up 46 ground balls,” Murphy said. “That gave us extra possessions on offense and limited what they could do offensively.
“Because they were clicking very well. Todd Heritage was very good today; David Dickson was excellent – one of the great feeders in our league.”
Deal of the Day! Save Almost 15% on the Garmin VIRB ELITE Action Camera! Colgate claimed a 46-19 edge in ground balls, thanks mainly to its 20-4 margin in faceoff wins. Shots favored Colgate 36-34, while shots on goal were 26-20 for Colgate. Bucknell was 18 of 20 on clears to Colgate's 18 of 23, and both teams scored an extra-man goal.
Turnovers were only 4-4 at halftime but ended 19 for Colgate to 13 for Buckenll. Colgate committed six in the third quarter and eight in the fourth.
Kevin Adams was credited with his second hat trick of the season. The sophomore scored with 31 seconds left in the first quarter, with three seconds left in the second (to make it 4-4 at halftime), and then scored the strangest goal of the game.
Bucknell was leading 7-4 when Williams let fly and Grinberg appeared to make the save. But Kevin Adams and Bucknell's Sam McDonough converged on Grinberg and the ball flipped back into the net with 2:31 left in the third.
Colgate took advantage of that lucky break to score the next two goals, retie the game and set up the thrilling finish.
“That just shows the grit of our team,” Murphy said. “Everybody's been working really hard for 14 weeks, and to see my team do the things they did today – I'm really proud of them.”
Brendon McCann finished with two goals and an assist, while Ryan Walsh had one and two. Clarkson grabbed four ground balls and Bobby Lawrence three. Leo Stouros forced a pair of turnovers.
Patriot League Rookie of the Year Brandon Burke posted 11 saves, including two in the first overtime period, to go with five ground balls and three caused turnovers.
It was just the third overtime game in Patriot League Tournament history and the first since 2009, when the Raiders fell 9-8 to Navy in the third OT of the conference semifinals. Navy ended up winning that championship, and now Colgate keeps its dream alive of a Patriot League title.
Colgate improves to 9-5 overall, while Bucknell finishes 7-8.
Next for the Raiders is a rematch against Loyola, which won a hard-fought 10-8 duel in Hamilton back on March 29. Colgate is vying to reach its fifth Patriot League Tournament championship game and first since 2012.
Shop Used Commercial Fitness Equipment Today “We got this one and now we can move on to Loyola and hopefully reach the finals on Sunday,” Clarkson said.