The Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team scored with 33 seconds remaining in regulation to earn a 9-8 win over ECAC Lacrosse League foe Air Force on Lessing Field Saturday afternoon. The win improves the Stags to 7-5 overall and 3-2 in league play, while the Falcons fall to 6-6 on the year and 1-4 in conference action.
Michael Roe won his ninth face-off of the game, with the score tied 8-8, and the ball found its way to Colin McLinden who fed Jordan Greenfield for the game-winning tally. It marked the fourth goal of the afternoon for Greenfield and would provide the final margin for the Stags.
Greenfield led all scorers with four goals, the only Stag to score more than once on the afternoon. McLinden had three assists, while Tristan Sperry went for a goal and an assist.
Air Force won the opening face-off and 55 seconds into the game Christopher Allen scored his first of the day to put the Falcons ahead 1-0. Conor Dalton answered for the Stags netting a Sperry pass at the 11:51 mark to start a three goal run for the Stags. Eric Warden netted a McLinden pass at the 10:15 mark to put Fairfield ahead and Greenfield’s first of the afternoon with 8:04 to play in the first quarter gave the Stags a 3-1 lead.
Tommy McKee scored at the 6:50 mark to get Air Force back within one, 3-2, but Greenfield (2:28) and Sperry (2:09) struck consecutively to give the Stags a 5-2 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Marshall Johnson got the scoring going 64 seconds into the second quarter, putting home a pass from Drew Federico for a 6-2 lead, the largest of the game. Kyle Cassady answered that tally 70 seconds later and the game would go to halftime with the Stags leading 6-3. Cassady would score the next goal of the game, with 2:45 to play in the third quarter, to make the score 6-4. The Falcons struck again 2:12 later on a Mike Crampton goal to make it 6-5.
Roe won the opening face-off of the fourth quarter and fed Greenfield for a tally seven seconds into the period to put the Stags back ahead two, 7-5. The game remained scoreless for nearly nine minutes until Allen scored his second of the game with 5:59 to play to make the score 7-6 Stags. Fairfield again responded, this time with McLinden feeding TJ Neubauer with 3:35 to play for the 8-6 Stags advantage. Allen completed his hat trick with 2:00 to play and Erik Smith tied the game with 51 ticks left, setting up the Greenfield game-winner.
Jack Murphy earned the win for the Stags with a 12-save effort, six of which came in the second-quarter of action. He also had three ground balls as the Stags finished with a 35-32 advantage in that category. McLinden and Roe both had five ground balls in the win to lead Fairfield. The Stags caused 11 turnovers, while committing just 13 of their own, with Sperry and Toby Armour both causing two apiece.
Austin Fox made nine saves in net for Air Force and was one of four players to pick up four ground balls apiece. Smith was 4-6 at the face-off X while Bryan Price went 7-14 and both players had four ground balls. Mike Crampton had three points with a goal and two assists for the Falcons.
The Stags travel to ECAC front-runner Denver on Saturday, before closing out the regular season at Ohio State on April 27. Fairfield needs to win one of those games to secure an ECAC Tournament berth.