Men's Lax Suffers 8-7 Loss At Wesleyan

March 14, 2009

Wesleyan senior Russ Follansbee scored three goals and added an assist for a four-point game as homestanding Wesleyan, ranked 17th in the latest USILA Division III poll, held off fourth-ranked Middlebury, 8-7, despite five goals from Panther senior Matt Ferrer.

Wesleyan never trailed in the contest and led by as many as three goals on three occasions, the first at 5-2, which proved to be the halftime score. After Middlebury cut the margin to one at 5-4 on a pair of Ferrer goals just 2:16 into the third period, Wesleyan answered back with two of its own. Senior Jason Ben-Eliyahu was left alone in front after Follansbee drew the Middlebury defense with him to the left side and passed back to his wide-open teammate at 8:10 of the period.

Three minutes later sophomore Conor Malangone put home a rebound to up the margin to 7-4. Ferrer scored again before the end of the period, receiving a centering pass from junior Pete Smith, who had three assists in the game. That made it 7-5 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Wesleyan senior Dan Latzman took a pass from senior Adam Kirk in a crowd 15 yards from the Middlebury goal and sidearmed a shot past senior keeper Peter Britt for the Cardinals' eighth goal 59 seconds into the fourth quarter, which proved to be the game-winner. Ferrer finished off his five-goal game at 11:26, again assisted by Smith, to make it 8-6. The teams then went 9:34 without a goal, the longest lapse in scoring during the game since the teams took 12:07 to break the ice on Follansbee's opening goal in the first quarter. That final Middlebury goal with 1:52 remaining came off the stick of senior Mike Stone, who was set up in close by Smith.

Middlebury senior Dave Campbell controlled the important ensuing face-off although Wesleyan junior Matt Ward had won 12 of the first 18, as Middlebury junior Zack Harwood gathered the ground ball. Ferrer got off one high shot, and the Panthers retained possession. But with :33 to go, Middlebury lost the ball out of bounds behind the Wesleyan net. Wesleyan junior Lonny Blumenthal legged the ball into the Middlebury zone for a clear but was called for a violation, stepping in and out of the box, with :15 left. Middlebury got into the Wesleyan zone and tried to work the left side but the Cardinal defense did not allow Ferrer to turn for a shot as the ball was knocked free and the final seconds ticked off.

Follansbee was the key to Wesleyan's 5-2 edge after 30 minutes as he twice ran from behind the Panther net to score unassisted in a span of 46 seconds late in the first period. He scored again unassisted at 3:08 of the second quarter for a three-goal half. Follansbee leads Wesleyan in scoring this year with eight goals and three assists for 11 points. Ferrer now leads Middlebury with seven goals and an assist for eight points.

Both goaltenders played very well as Wesleyan senior Mike Borrero racked up 16 saves. Britt collected 14 in the Panther net.