Canisius Rallies Late to Tie Then Tops VMI in Overtime

LEXINGTON, Va. John Minieri scored the tying goal with three seconds to go in regulation, and Tom Vivian added the game-winner in overtime as the Canisius Golden Griffins survived a 7-0 VMI run and knocked off the Keydets, 12-11 in overtime, to close out the regular season for both teams in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) men's lacrosse contest played Saturday afternoon in Lexington.

VMI (2-13, 0-8 MAAC) had rallied from down 7-3 with a 7-0 run, capped by three consecutive Drew Leonard goals early in the fourth, but Canisius (6-7, 5-3 MAAC) came back with three scores in the final 2:36 of regulation. After cutting the margin to 11-10, Canisius took its final timeout with 34 seconds left.

Coming out of the break, the Golden Griffins' first attempt went wide, and Keydet goalie Sean McCoy made a spectacular kick save on Minieri's second try. With the clock winding down, Jones found Minieri to McCoy's right, about 12 feet from the net. The Canisius midfielder then fired a low shot toward the outside portion of the net for the tying goal. The visitors won the opening face-off of overtime, and held possession until Vivian's game-winner that came with 2:01 left in the extra frame.

In the setback, VMI was paced by four players; Drew Leonard, Colin Bosse, Tim Moran and Stephen Robarge. Leonard and Bosse each had three goals, while Bosse also chipped in an assist. Senior Moran had two goals and two assists, and closes out his storied VMI career ranked in the program's top eight in goals, assists and total points.

Robarge, meanwhile, grabbed nine ground balls to set a new VMI single season record with 124. He was also 16 for 27 in face-off attempts as he bids to become the national statistical champion in face-off percentage.

Canisius jumped on the scoreboard first on the warm, sunny day, as Jimmy Haney beat McCoy less than 90 seconds into the game to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Keydets came right back, as Bosse scored the first of his trio of goals to tie the score, 1-1, with 3:05 gone by in the opening quarter. From there, VMI dominated for a lengthy stretch. In fact, over the next 3:17, the home team had a 6-0 edge in shots, and that paid dividends when Bobby Davis beat Canisius netminder Sean Callahan to put the Keydets ahead, 2-1.

VMI looked to go up two goals, as the Keydets pressed Canisius for the next several minutes. Callahan made four saves in the span of less than two minutes, and after a turnover, the visitors got back on the board. Mike Benzinger beat McCoy with 2:22 left in the first, knotting the score at 2 apiece, which would be the score after the first 15 minutes of play.

After 20 total shots were tried in the first quarter, there were just six such shots in the opening seven minutes of the second period, as the pace of the game slowed down considerably. That sixth shot came off the stick of Alex Caldiero, and it beat McCoy to give Canisius the lead once more, 3-2. Jones went on to score the next two goals, and with 4:05 left in the half, the Golden Griffins held a 5-2 edge. Thanks to seven turnovers in the final four minutes, that would be the score at halftime.

The visitors pushed their margin out to 6-2 3:23 into the third quarter, thanks to a man-up goal by Simon Giourmetakis. Tim Moran answered less than two minutes later, ending the VMI scoring drought and cutting the deficit to three, 6-3. The Keydets had gone 28:55 without a goal, dating back to Davis' score in the first, but a run was coming. First, Caldiero added his second of the game to put Canisius back up by four, 7-3 with 8:38 left in the third.

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