No. 13 Bucknell Tops No. 19 Army in Patriot League Semifinals

BETHLEHEM, Pa. Chase Bailey scored four goals and David Dickson passed out five assists in support of some stellar defensive work as 13th-ranked Bucknell ran past No. 19 Army 12-9 on Friday in the first semifinal game of the Patriot League tournament presented.

The second-seeded Bison are now 12-3 on the season, and they move on to the championship game for the fourth time, where they will face either Lehigh or Colgate at 3:00 p.m. Sunday on CBS Sports Network.

Dickson shattered the Patriot League single-season assist record, as his five helpers give him 47 for the season, nudging him past Army's Jeremy Boltus (2011) and Jeff Bryan (2003), who had 45 each. Dickson also scored a goal, giving him a six-point evening. His five assists were one shy of the Patriot League Tournament record.

Bailey scored four straight Bucknell goals in one key stretch, tying his career high for goals in a game. Todd Heritage added three goals and an assist, and Tom Black handed out two assists as Bucknell became only the second team to post more than 10 goals against Army's vaunted defense. It was the most goals allowed by the Black Knights (8-5) since their season-opening 16-9 loss to Massachusetts.

Bucknell's defense was just as big a story. All-league defensemen Mike Huffner and Jackson Place kept the high-scoring duo of John Glesener and Garrett Thul in check, and goalie Kyle Feeney made 11 saves. The Bison kept Army scoreless for a span of 33:04 while piling up a commanding 12-6 lead with 3:44 to play.

Bucknell had to play a lot of defense, as Army won 20 of the 24 faceoffs, but the Bison forced 20 turnovers, 14 of which came on direct takeaways. Place had four caused turnovers and three ground balls, while Huffner had three caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Glesener, the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, came in with 29 goals and 27 assists. The Bison held him to two of each, but three of his four points came in the final 4:35 of the game after Bucknell had built a commanding six-goal lead. Thul had 37 goals coming in, but he was limited to two, the last of which came with 2:08 to play.

The first half consisted of major momentum swings, as Bucknell scored the game's first three goals, Army netted the next four, and the Bison answered back with another three in a row.

"We were outstanding in every phase of the game except faceoffs, and that was a big key for us," said head coach Frank Fedorjaka afterward. "We got some great looks early in the game, looks that we didn't have the first time we played Army. Even though we missed some good chances that might have given us an even bigger lead and then Army came back on us, I wasn't all that concerned because I liked the shots that we were getting. Jackson Place and Mike Huffner did a great job forcing Army's big guns in the direction that we wanted them to go."

Up 6-5 at halftime, Bucknell was able to stretch its lead through Bailey and Heritage early in the third period. Bailey scored his fourth Bison goal in a row off a feed from Brock Ghelfi just 1:01 into the quarter, and then the EMO unit struck for a third time in the game with Heritage ripping a low-to-high shot off a pretty pass from Black.

Dickson already had four assists under his belt before his unassisted goal coming out from behind the cage made it 9-5 with 1:35 left in the third quarter. Two straight strikes by Heritage to start the fourth quarter made it five straight and eight out of nine goals for the Bison, who posted an 8-1 run for the second game in a row.

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