Men's Lax Drops OT Game At Tufts

April 28, 2007

The men's lacrosse team lost its fourth NESCAC overtime game of the season as they fell 7-6 at Tufts in the regular season finale. The Panthers have earned the sixth seed in the NESCAC Tourney and will visit third-seeded Trinity on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Chase Bibby scored 1:45 into the first overtime period to lift ninth-ranked Tufts to its first-ever NESCAC regular-season title with a 7-6 victory over Middlebury on Saturday afternoon at Bello Field.

The Jumbos earned a bye for the first round of the conference tournament that starts tomorrow, and will host the semi-finals and championship game next weekend (May 5-6). Tufts and Wesleyan both finished the NESCAC season with 8-1 records, but the Jumbos beat the Cardinals 9-6 on March 24.

With the victory, the Jumbos defeated the Panthers for the first time in 40 years, ending a 29-game losing streak. The last Tufts victory came during the 1967 season by an 8-5 score.

Bibby's goal decided another hard-fought NESCAC contest for the Jumbos, who improved to 12-2 overall. They got a strong game from goaltender Matt Harrigan, who made 16 saves. Middlebury earned the sixth seed in the conference tournament with a 4-5 NESCAC finish (7-6 overall). Four of their five conference losses came in overtime.

The teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the first period, and Tufts led 3-2 at the intermission after Matt Caple scored with 1:19 remaining in the second period. The Panthers scored the first three goals of the second half to go ahead 5-3 at 3:40 of the third quarter when Nick Bastis scored The Jumbos responded with a three-goal run of their own and led 6-5 after Chris Connelly scored with 10:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Tufts held that lead into the final minute when Middlebury Mike Stone scored a miraculous goal while lying on the turf with 47 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 6-6. Middlebury gained possession and called time-out late in the fourth, but it did not result in any chances.

In overtime, Tufts was awarded the face-off on a Middlebury infraction and soon Bibby was scoring one of the biggest goals in the team's history.

The statistics favor Middlebury, which held a 41-26 edge in shots, 24-15 in ground balls and won 12 of the 17 face-offs. However, the Jumbos got a solid game from Harrigan and two goals apiece from Bibby and classmate Clem McNally. Stone scored three times for the Panthers, who will play at Trinity in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament tomorrow.

Middlebury (7-6, 4-5 NESCAC) 1 1 3 1 0 = 6

Tufts (12-2, 8-1 NESCAC) 1 2 1 2 1 = 7

Goals: T, Chase Bibby 2, Clem McNally 2, Chris Connelly 1, Mark Warner 1, Matt Caple 1; M, Mike Stone 3, Nick Bastis 1, Tom Petty 1, Skyler Hopkins 1.

Assists: T, Bibby 1, Connelly 1, Warner 1; M, Frank Granara 1, Peter Mellen 1, Will Simpson 1.

Saves: T, Matt Harrigan (61:45 - 6 GA) 16 saves; M, Alex Palmisano (61:45- 7 GA) 8 saves.