Men's lacrosse edges Bates on last-minute goal
Hamilton College's John Zimmerman '15 scored with 19.6 seconds left and lifted the Continentals to an 8-7 NESCAC win against the Bates College Bobcats at Bates' Garcelon Field on Saturday afternoon.
The game-winning goal was the 42nd tally of Zimmerman's Hamilton career and his 95th collegiate point. The pass came from Sam Sweet '16, who finished the day with two goals and one assist. Sweet leads the team with 18 goals and 13 helpers.
The Continentals (6-3, 2-3 NESCAC) scored the first goal and never trailed. Hamilton evened the all-time series with Bates at two wins apiece.
Joe Ricciuti '16, Pax Anthos '15, Pat Donahoe '16, Baylis Treen '15 and J.D. Brachman '17 added one goal each for the Continentals. Matt Greene '18 and Dan Cahill '17 were credited with one assist apiece.
Will Driscoll '15 made 14 saves, including eight in the second quarter, for Hamilton. Driscoll leads the NESCAC with 135 saves. Dylan Lahey '15 and Eric Zurmuehle '18 scooped up four ground balls apiece, and Zurmuehle won four of the six face-offs he took.
Charlie Fay '17 paced the Bobcats (4-4, 1-4) with four goals. Kyle Weber '17 chipped in two goals and Jack Strain had one goal and one assist. Sam Francis won 6 of 9 face-offs and Ken O'Friel collected five ground balls. Joe Faria stopped seven shots — all in the first half.
The Continentals, who once held a 6-2 lead early in the third quarter, had been held scoreless for nearly 20 minutes before salvaging the victory. Hamilton gained the ball with 1:24 to go in the fourth quarter when Driscoll stopped Fay's shot for his 14th save.
After calling timeout with 1:06 left, the Continentals worked to set up a final shot. With about 10 seconds left on the shot clock and 19.6 seconds on the game clock, Sweet had the ball on the left side with his back facing the Bates goal. Sweet's defender slipped on the turf, giving the attackman a free lane. With defensive help converging on Sweet, Zimmerman was left open on the right doorstep of Bates' goal and he converted the point-blank shot.
The ensuing faceoff was controlled by Bates but with time running out, Jack Allard was forced to shoot from near midfield and the ball sailed just wide of Hamilton's net. Bates retained the ball with 0.7 seconds left but the Bobcats couldn't muster another shot.
The game-winning goal spoiled Bates' comeback led by Fay, who scored all four of his goals in a 5-1 Bobcat run, and three of Bates' goals in a 4-0 stretch. Two of them were on man-up opportunities with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter and 14:34 left in the fourth. Fay also scored a man-up goal with 7:05 to go in the third to cut Hamilton's lead to 6-3. Weber tallied his man-up goal with 26 seconds left in the third to make it 7-5.
Hamilton outscored Bates 2-1 in both the first and second quarters for a 4-2 lead at the break. The Continentals tallied the first two scores of the third quarter for a 6-2 cushion.
Strain scored his 18th goal to tie the score at 2-2 early in the second but Sweet made it 3-2 on a feed from Greene with 9:29 to go. Following a five-minute scoreless stretch, Hamilton scored on a fast break after a Driscoll save. Sweet finished the break with a close-range shot that was stopped by Faria, but Treen was in position to pick up the loose ball and shovel it in for a 4-2 Hamilton lead.
Just over a minute into the third, a Hamilton pass from behind Bates' goal missed its intended man, but Ricciuti gathered the ball at the top of the circle and scored with 13:54 left. Donahoe made it 6-2 with 9:48 to go, using a nice spin move to open up his shot into the upper reaches of the net.
Bates took advantage of the first of four Hamilton penalties in the third quarter as Fay ripped the ball into the net on a Jake Walsh assist. Hamilton scored what proved to be a crucial goal in response. The Continentals controlled the ensuing face-off and held the ball before Cahill assisted Brachman on his score with 4:57 remaining in the third quarter and returned the Hamilton lead to four goals.
Bates owned a 38-33 shot advantage and won 10 of the 17 face-offs. The Continentals held a 29-28 edge in ground balls. The Bobcats scored four times on five extra-man opportunities while Hamilton was held scoreless in four chances.
The Continentals travel to nationally ranked No. 13 Middlebury College for another conference game on Wednesday, April 1, at 4:30 p.m.