Jaspers Hold off Late Rally for Victory at Mercer

RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Manhattan took an 8-2 lead into halftime and held off a late rally to defeat the Mercer Bears, 8-6, on Tuesday afternoon to snap a two game losing skid. The victory was the first road win of the season for the Jaspers (2-4) and kept Mercer (0-8) searching for their first win of the year.

Controlling possession from the start, Manhattan jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead when Brian McGrath fed Jonathan Bourne for the first goal of the game just 1:18 into the contest. McGrath would follow with a score of his own seven seconds later before Kevin Cox went unassisted to make it a three goal advantage with 11:49 to play in the first period.

The Jaspers continued to control possession and kept Mercer off the board for the first ten minutes of the game until Brett Eisenmann scored to cut the lead to 3-1. Ryan Payton would score on a "man-up" opportunity for Manhattan off a pass from Brendan Rogers which triggered another three goal run to give the Jaspers a 6-1 lead. The Bears Eoin Collins stopped the bleeding with 0:41 to play in the quarter making the score 6-2 in favor of Manhattan going into the second frame.

In that frame, the pace of the contest slowed considerably as each team registered just four shots a piece. The Jaspers would take advantage of their limited opportunities however as both Bourne and Payton scored their second goals of the game, and the only of the period, as Manhattan went into the locker room leading 8-2.

Out of halftime, the Jaspers slowed down the intensity but not the dominance. Despite not scoring once in the third and fourth quarters (and taking a total of 12 second half shots) they continued to control the tempo of the game and possession of the ball. Mercer's Keoni Rausch scored the only goal of the third period with 7:42 to play before Collins added his second goal on the extra man with 10:14 remaining in the fourth. The Bears would get just two more goals in the game as freshman goalkeeper Michael Wiatrak made 13 saves to earn the first victory of his career.

Manhattan lead the Bears in ground balls (40-27) face offs, winning 11 of 17, to help dictate the tempo. The Jaspers were also 20-24 in their clear attempts while Mercer was 15-16 and forced 17 turnovers. Justin Bateman took the loss for the Bears making nine saves in the game.

Freshman Brian Lenksold took every face off for Manhattan in what was one of his more impressive performances of the season. He also picked up three ground balls to help trigger the Jasper offense. McGrath led all point getters with three, one goal and two assists, while Rogers had two helpers as Payton and Bourne each tallied two goals of their own. Cox, Alex Grandal (one goal, one assist) and Dan Sweeney (one goal) also earned points in the victory.

The Jaspers return home on Saturday, March 17 when they host Binghamton at 1:00 p.m. at Gaelic Park.

2012-03-13



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