The Hawkeyes used a late four-goal surge to edge the Buffaloes 12-9 in Upstate Collegiate Box Lacrosse League action Wednesday night at the Classic Rink. With the win, the Rochester club remained in first place by improving to 2-0.
“We just did what we had to do,” said Hawkeyes forward Gavin Hill. “The defense stepped up pretty good; the offense moved the ball, and we listened to our coaches. We all got into our heads, but we got out of it, and, by the end of the game, we got the result we wanted.”
Hill was one of two Hawkeyes who finished with three goals and two assists, joining Mason Homer. RIT product Spencer Bell also chipped in with two goals and two assists. Bell assisted on two of his team’s last three goals as the Hawkeyes scored four goals in the final seven minutes to erase a 9-8 deficit.
Buffalo had pulled ahead with a 4-0 run of its own to take the lead four minutes into the final frame. Henry Popko scored two of those markers, with the first coming on the power play to get Buffalo within two, 8-6, at the end of the third quarter. The Buffaloes finished the contest with three power-play tallies.
The physical affair also produced some power-play chances for the Hawkeyes, and they took advantage. Rochester connected five times on the man advantage, which included late goals by Hill and Mitch Pfeiffer.
The victory was the second come-from-behind win for the Hawkeyes and tested the resilience of the high school and college kids.
“It showed us how we have to work together as a team, stick together and just keep grinding on the loose balls,” said Bell. “We had some bad penalties, but our defense played tight and stopped them from scoring.”
The Hawkeyes started slowly in their first road game as the Buffaloes struck for the first two goals of the contest. Vincent Fiorella scored at 8:43, and Nathan Maloney followed with a power-play marker just two minutes later. The Hawkeyes, however, responded with two straight power-play goals to end the first quarter even at two as Hill and Homer scored for Rochester.
The second quarter went back-and-forth with the Hawkeyes taking the lead twice. Trevor Hill’s diving put back at 1:43 gave Rochester its first lead of the contest. After the teams traded goals, Buffalo ended the half with a shorthanded tally by Liam Keane and a power-play goal by Jack Anzalone to regain the lead at 5-4.
Rochester stormed into the third by netting four consecutive goals to pull ahead 8-5. Nicholas Miller ripped a shot into the top left corner of the net just 20 seconds into the third to tie the game at five. Bell, Homer and Gavin Hill followed suit, and the Hawkeyes were rolling. But, Buffalo, behind stellar goaltending from Gage Stevens blanked Rochester for over 10 minutes while chipping away at the deficit, finally taking a 9-8 lead early in the fourth. Stevens was spectacular in his first start of the season, finishing the night with 48 saves.
Rochester’s offense finally broke through midway through the fourth and reeled off four straight goals to end the game. Meanwhile, goalie Kyle Meagher and the defense blanked the Buffaloes over the game’s final 11 minutes.
“We struggled in the beginning, but I am glad the guys got back into the game,” said Meagher, who had a second straight outstanding game in goal, making 33 saves.
The Buffaloes (0-2) will try to earn their first win of the season on Monday, as they take on the Armory at 7:00 p.m. at Segar and Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The Hawkeyes return to action Wednesday to battle the Armory at 6:00 p.m. in Rochester.