Big Fourth Quarter Carries No. 19 Lehigh Past Colgate

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - In a heated rematch of last season's Patriot League championship, #19 Lehigh and Colgate combined for 23 goals and 20 penalties, but it was the Mountain Hawks who came up big when it mattered most. Lehigh broke an 8-8 tie after three quarters, outscoring Colgate 5-2 in the fourth for a big 13-10 win on Saturday in Goodman Stadium.

The victory sets up a big showdown at Bucknell next Friday with the winner clinching the Patriot League Regular Season Title and #1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament.

"I thought it was an absolute battle," said Lehigh head coach Kevin Cassese. "Both teams played hard. Our guys really answered when we went down. They stepped up and found an extra gear, an extra level, late in the second quarter and into the third. I'm really proud of the way they finished today.

"We talked about it all week. Colgate prides itself on being a third-quarter team. We do too. I was proud of the way our guys played in the second half. They did enough to win and made the plays that needed to be made."

Saturday's win clinches Lehigh's third straight Patriot League Tournament appearance. The Mountain Hawks now shift their attention to next Friday and with a win, would host the league tournament for the first time in school history.

Senior Dante Fantoni tied a career high with six points behind three goals and a career-high tying three assists. In the process, he eclipsed 100 career goals, currently standing at 101. Classmate David DiMaria also reached a milestone, surpassing 100 career assists with his one-goal, four-assist effort. Sophomore Patrick Corbett set a career high with four goals, Dan Taylor added three points (one goal, two assists), senior Kyle Stiefel scored two man-up goals and Brian Hess dished two assists.

"Our seniors stepped up," said Cassese. "I'm really proud of David DiMaria, Dante Fantoni, Mike Noone ... those guys in particular played really special today. You need your seniors to step up when it comes down to big games in the league. I was really proud of the fact that our guys did that today."

Lehigh finished 6 of 8 on the extra man, a team and Patriot League high for man-up goals this season.

Senior Mike Noone helped spearhead the defense, posting three groundballs and three caused turnovers. Classmate Baxter Lanius had two groundballs and two caused turnovers while Ryan Snyder won 13 of 25 faceoffs while scooping eight groundballs and giving Lehigh a significant edge in time of possession.

"Over the first three quarters, I thought Ryan was the difference in the game," said Cassese. "It allowed us to get some extra possessions early in the game. Maybe that leads to the Colgate defense getting tired in the fourth quarter, taking some fouls down the stretch and allowing us to secure the win."

Sophomore goalie Matt Poillon finished with 15 saves, one shy of his career high, with nine coming in the second half.

Lehigh got off to a quick start, taking leads of 2-0 and 3-1 following Fantoni's first of the game. The extra man-goal, assisted by Taylor, made it 3-1 at 4:54 of the first quarter. Colgate responded with the next two, but Taylor finished off a nifty behind-the-back goal, beating Raiders' goalie Conor Murphy with just one second left in the first quarter to make it 4-3.

The Raiders went on a 3-0 run to take a 6-4 lead after Peter Baum's second goal in a 3:06 span. However, Lehigh ended the half on a 3-0 run of its own, beginning with Corbett's second of the game at 10:55 and ending with his third with 4:41 remaining.

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