Fourth Quarter Rally Lifts Jaspers Past Mercer

RIVERDALE, N.Y. In a back-and-forth affair that saw the first three quarters end in ties, Manhattan used a four goal run to overcome a 10-8 deficit, en route to a 12-11 home win over Mercer on Wednesday afternoon. The victory snapped a four game losing streak for the Jaspers (2-6), who returned home for the first time in over three weeks.

The first quarter was very much a defensive standstill as neither squad was willing to budge. Finally, with 5:41 remaining in the period, senior Tyler Jarvis finished a point blank shot off a pass from Ryan Payton for the first goal of the game. Mercer (3-5) quickly responded as JT Del Tufo knotted things up just 17 seconds later. An Eoin Collins goal at the 1:55 mark gave the Bears their first lead of the game but Alex Grandal found an equalizer just over 20 seconds later to tie things up after one period of play.

Mercer picked up the offense again at the start of the second, scoring twice in the first four minutes. Zack Ward was able to beat Michael Wiatrak for the first of his team high three goals to put the Bears up 3-2 with 12:30 to play in the quarter. Freshman Chris Baxa followed less than 90 seconds later for a two goal cushion.

However, Manhattan used a man-up opportunity to inch closer. Freshman Darien Bica forced a turnover on the defensive end and went streaking down the left side of the field for the Jaspers. After drawing a double team, he quickly dumped it off to Patrick Hodapp who fired a bouncer into the net to make the score 4-3 Mercer with 9:10 to play until halftime. Grandal yet again tied things up less than two minutes after that, finishing a pass from Brett Madarasz. Both teams battled over the final seven minutes of the quarter, but couldn't find an edge, heading into halftime deadlocked at 4-4.

To start the third, Mercer almost immediately went on the extra man as Grandal was called for unnecessary roughness. Thirty-two seconds into the one minute penalty, Cole Branch found Baxa up top for the goal putting the Bears ahead 5-4 with 13:48 to play in the quarter. Jay DeBole added to the lead with an unassisted goal at the 12:39 mark for Mercer.

Again, the Jaspers defense would lead to offense a mere 14 seconds later. Sean McMahon picked up a ground ball, after the Bears won the ensuing faceoff, and eventually found Nick Strano for the freshman's first career goal. After three minutes of no scoring, Manhattan's Marcel Godino ripped a shot into the back of the cage to tie things up at 6-6 with 9:29 to play in the third. Each squad would add another goal in the period, sending the game into the fourth in a 7-7 tie.

In that fourth quarter Madarasz and Godino teamed up to give Manhattan their first lead since the opening goal at 8-7. Mercer would quickly rattle off three straight goals from Timmy Geran, Harry Baker and Ward to go up 10-8 with 10:45 remaining. The Jaspers senior leadership then took over, rallying the troops with four consecutive scores in the final seven minutes.

Jarvis began the stretch with an unassisted tally at the 6:12 mark before Madarasz earned his third assist on the game finding Brian McGrath to knot the game up at 10-10 with 3:57 to play in regulation. Another score from Jarvis put Manhattan on top by one before Madarasz gave the Jaspers their largest lead of the contest with 1:28 remaining at 12-10. That goal proved to be critical as Mercer looked to answer back.

With just 36 seconds remaining, Ward capped off his hat trick with a tally that brought the Bears within one. After winning the next faceoff, Mercer tried to find an equalizer. One shot was blocked out in front by the aggressive Manhattan defense and the Bears were unable to get another one off before time expired.

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2013-03-20



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