Bryant Comeback Falls Short; Bulldogs Fall to No. 12 Yale

SMITHFIELD, R.I. Bryant scored three fourth-quarter goals to pull back within a single tally Saturday afternoon but couldn't net the equalizer, falling to No. 12 Yale, 9-8, at the Bryant Turf Complex.

The Bulldogs (2-2) controlled much of the possession through the final 15 minutes, but six Bryant turnovers in the final stanza including one in the game's final seconds allowed the Elis (2-0) to hold on for the victory. Saturday's game marked the third-straight one-goal finish between the sides and the third such margin in four all-time meetings.

A trio of Bulldogs found the net twice in the outing, with sophomore attack Shane Morrell (Glen Mills, Pa.) leading the way with three points (2g, 1a). Senior linemate Dan Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) chipped in two scores, with sophomore midfielder Collins Gantz (Denver, Colo.) also added a duo of goals. Senior captain and defensive middie JK Poirier (Coatesville, Pa.) also got involved in the scoring action, dishing out a pair of helpers for his first two points of the season.

Conrad Oberbeck paced the visitors with a hat trick and finished with four points on the day, firing 10 of the team's 55 shots. Colin Flaherty also chipped in a hat trick for Yale, who saw goalie Eric Natale make 10 stops between the pipes.

The Bulldogs never led in the contest despite a pair of early ties, and 10 first-half turnovers played a role in Bryant's 7-4 halftime deficit. Oberbeck's hat trick was contained in the opening period alone and was accompanied by scores from Brandon Mangan (man-down), Flaherty and Jeff Cimbalista en route to a 6-3 advantage entering the second quarter.

"We were just too careless, especially in the first half," said Bryant head coach Mike Pressler. "In the clearing game and certainly on offense, our lack of taking care of the ball came back to bite us. The theme of the whole week was to not beat ourselves, and that was the story of the first half."

An unassisted Morrell marker after lingering behind the cage, the sophomore swung around the left side of the goal to deposit his shot beyond the reach of Natale cut the score to 6-4 just a minute into the second, but Flaherty responded less than two minutes later. Both sides stood strong on defense for the remainder of the frame, sending the teams to the intermission with the three-goal gap.

After the break, 10 minutes of back-and-forth action kept the scoreboard frozen at 7-4 before Sipperly finally broke through off a Morrell assist with five minutes left to play to close the deficit to two. Austin Rocco reasserted Yale's three-goal lead in the final 90 seconds of the quarter, though, setting up a dramatic finish in the fourth.

Gantz got the Bulldog rally started three minutes into the final period, and Morrell pulled the hosts even closer with 8:49 remaining off a feed from Poirier for an 8-7 margin. And while Bryant sophomore goalie Gunnar Waldt (Freeland, Md.) turned away four in the fourth frame alone, Yale would break its silence with 5:31 to play, with Flaherty capping off his hat trick to renew a multi-goal lead for the visitors.

Gantz would waste no time getting the goal back he scored 53 seconds later, lacing one into the upper right corner of the net off a pass from Brian Schlansker (Glenville, N.Y.) but multiple scoring chances in the final minutes would break the wrong way for the Bulldogs, who found themselves on the wrong side of the 9-8 margin at the final whistle.

"We were resilient," said Pressler. "We were down four at the half, and we battled back. We survived the first quarter and played very well, at times, from then on."

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