Nazareth Edges #18 St. John Fisher in Overtime

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Freshman Trevar Haefele scored with 1:47 remaining in overtime to lift visiting Nazareth to a 10-9 victory over 18th-ranked St. John Fisher in an Empire 8 men's lacrosse game. The Golden Flyers scored twice in the fourth quarter to extend the game into the sudden victory session.

With the victory, Nazareth remains undefeated in conference contests with a 6-0 record and clinches a spot in the upcoming Empire 8 Conference Tournament, May 6th and 8th. The Golden Flyers will attempt to secure home field advantage for the tournament when they host seventh-ranked Stevens April 23rd and travel to second-ranked RIT April 30th.

Nazareth is 10-3 overall. The Cardinals' chances to make the E8 tournament were severely damaged with the loss. Fisher falls to 9-4 overall and 1-4 in conference games.

In overtime, Nazareth senior R.J. Gringeri won the opening faceoff to give the Golden Flyers the possession. Nazareth maintained possession through the 2:13 of the extra period by collecting four ground balls. After a timeout by the Golden Flyers, senior Scott Castle had a shot blocked and junior Nate DeLone's shot was saved by Matt McShea. Thirty-three seconds after DeLone's shot was saved, however, Haefele buried a shot into Fisher's net.

The Golden Flyers rallied for the final two goals of regulation to force the contest into overtime. As in overtime, Gringeri's faceoff victory was imperative in setting up a scoring opportunity. Gringeri collected the loose ball after the faceoff, then sophomore Brian Wright received a pass from junior C.J. Estes to trim Nazareth's fourth quarter deficit to one goal just 53 seconds into the period.

After holding the Cardinals' offense scoreless, DeLone scored an unassisted goal with just over six minutes remaining in regulation. The Golden Flyers had the possession in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but were unable to put a game-winning shot attempt on goal.

Fisher had pulled ahead by outscoring Nazareth 4-2 in the third quarter. Wright opened the quarter's scoring with two conseutive goals within a 48-second span to put Nazareth ahead temporarily, 7-5. After Wright scored an unassisted goal with 12:36 to play in the third, he converted a man-up opportunity after receiving a pass from Estes.

Jeff Webster, Mitch Ritchie, Ryan Schmidt, and Kyle Denhoff answered with goals for the Cardinals. Fisher's scoring run lasted the final 10 minutes of the quarter as Denhoff scored with only 10 seconds remaining to lift the Cardinals to a 9-7 lead going into the fourth.

The first half also featured an evenly played game as each team tallied five goals. About five minutes into the game, Castle put Nazareth on the board first with a man-up goal, but was answered by Ritchie 1:29 later. The Golden Flyers scored three of the next four goals to take a 4-2 lead. Freshman Chris Aycock scored the first goal of the run, but Fisher's Mike Cummins matched it.

Ten seconds into the second quarter, Estes scored a man-up goal to reclaim Nazareth's lead. The Golden Flyers extended their lead to two goals after DeLone set up Estes, who found the back of the net with 5:35 to play in the half.

Fisher's quick attack, however, tied the game within the next 57 seconds following a goal by Cummins and Schmidt. It appeared the Cardinals would take a 5-4 lead into the break after Ritchie scored with a under a minute to play in the quarter, but Haefele converted a scoring opportunity with four seconds left in the half to tie the game.

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