The Hawkeyes (5-4) built a 12-4 lead late in the first half of the Upstate College Box Lacrosse League semifinals Thursday night at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena and survived a late push from the Buffaloes (1-8) to hold on for a 15-14 victory.
Forward Koleton Marquis paced the Hawkeyes offense to the win as he registered nine points (2+7) which included an assist on Trevor Hill’s (5+2) game-winning goal with 2:48 left in the fourth quarter. Nicholas Miller (1+3) also picked up an assist on the winning tally while Conner Fingar (2+1), Mitch Pfeiffer (2+2) and Zachary Terry (2+0) all had a multi-goal night. Spencer Bell (1+1) rounded out the scoring with a pair of points as did Mason Homer (0+2). Ayden Mowry, Michael Miccio and Rocco Santillo all registered an assist. Goaltender Tehonatake Nicholas (3-1) stopped made 30 saves to improve to 3-1 on campaign.
Vincent Fiorella (3+2), Xavier Taylor (3+1) and Liam Keane (3+1) all scored three goals apiece for the Buffaloes, who finished the regular season with one win. Jack Anzalone (1+2), Nathan Maloney (1+2), Henry Popko (1+1), Dan Kritkausky (1+0) and Daniel Newton (1+0) all found the back of the net while Josh Shields, Chris Ryan, and Ryan Jobson all earned one assist. Netminder Gage Stevens made his eighth appearance of the season and took the loss despite stopping 50 of the 65 shots he faced.
In the first quarter, Marquis began the scoring less than 15 seconds into the contest, and by the 6:28 mark, the Hawkeyes held a 4-1 lead. The Buffaloes countered back with two goals from Keane and Anzalone, but with Bell’s and Miller’s markers, it was 6-3 after the opening frame.
The Hawkeyes continued the run as they scored six of the first seven goals to begin the second quarter and push their lead to 12-4 with just over two minutes to play in the half. Following a timeout by the Buffaloes, Fiorella added one more before the end of the second quarter to trim the Hawkeyes advantage to seven goals.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
The two clubs combined to score five times in the third quarter, but the Buffaloes continued to chip away as it was a 14-8 game going into the final 15 minutes.
In the final quarter, the Buffaloes tallied three power-play goals and three at even strength to even the score at 14-14 with just over three minutes left. The final three Buffaloes tallies came in a span of 22 seconds, which included a highlight reel diving one-handed goal from Keane to tie the contest.
The Hawkeyes, despite seeing their eight-goal advantage erased, remain unfazed as Hill capped off the scoring as he was out in front of the goal crease.
The Buffaloes looked to send the game beyond regulation as they pulled Stevens during the final minute and two possessions and two saves later, the Hawkeyes hung on for the 15-14 victory.
With the win, the Hawkeyes will face the Armory in a winner-take-all championship game on Monday, August 2 at 7:00 p.m. from Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena.