Men's lacrosse tops Western New England 14-13 in double overtime thriller

Sophomore Curtis Knapton scored the game-winning goal in double overtime and the Bates men's lacrosse team defeated Western New England 14-13 on Wed. March 14, 2018. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Senior Max Breschi tied the game with 43 seconds left in regulation and sophomore Curtis Knapton won it in double overtime as the Bates men's lacrosse team rallied from four goals down to defeat Western New England 14-13 Wednesday night.  

After Nicholas Beauchamp scored on an assist from Nick Gamba, the Bobcats (2-3) found themselves down 12-8 with 14:23 remaining in regulation. 

With 12:54 to go, sophomore Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) connected with Knapton (Westbrook, Maine) for the latter's second goal of the evening. Then senior captain Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) scored an unassisted tally with 10:45 left to trim the deficit to 12-10.

Chlastawa continued to excel at distributing the ball, this time finding sophomore Brendan Mullally (Baltimore, Md.) for a goal with 9:05 to go in the fourth quarter. 

Jones tallied the equalizer with 5:39 left on a Mullally assist but the Golden Bears (3-2) took a 13-12 lead with 2:05 remaining on a Mikey Wood goal with an assist to Jared Ward.

Western New England won the ensuing faceoff but junior Rocco Fantoni (Hauppage, N.Y.) made the defensive play of the day, causing Wood to turn the ball over. Fantoni picked up the ground ball and Bates successfully cleared it, calling timeout with 56 seconds left. Just 13 seconds out of the timeout, Jones found Breschi (Carlisle, Pa.) and the game stood tied at 13 apiece.

After the Golden Bears won the faceoff again, the teams traded turnovers and a last second shot by Beauchamp was denied by sophomore goalkeeper Rob Strain (Montclair, N.J.), sending the game to overtime.

Neither team scored in the first four-minute sudden victory overtime period, with Bates outshooting Western New England 3-2. A Jones shot nearly won the game with 21 seconds left but it hit the crossbar, sending the contest to double overtime.

Junior Eli Cooper (Glastonbury, Conn.) won the faceoff to start double overtime and senior Jack O'Brien (Rye, N.Y.) picked up the ground ball. An initial Breschi shot missed wide but with 2:32 left in the period Chlastawa passed the ball from behind the net to Knapton. Knapton fired from distance, sending it past the Golden Bear keeper for the game-winning score. 

It's the first double overtime game for Bates since the Bobcats defeated Tufts University 19-18 on April 19, 2016. Remarkably, Bates has won seven consecutive overtime contests.

The Bobcats did not lead until the game-winning goal. Western New England scored the first two goals of the night before Breschi recorded back-to-back tallies to even the game at two with 2:18 left in the first quarter. Ward scored with 1:10 left in the first before Knapton tied the contest at three apiece on a Chlastawa assist.

In the second quarter, the teams traded goals before the Golden Bears went on a 3-0 run to take a 7-4 lead. The Bobcats responded with a 3-0 run of their own, sparked by Mullally, Jones and Chlastawa. 

Wood scored with just 39 seconds left in the half to give Western New England an 8-7 lead going to intermission.

The Golden Bears scored the first two goals of the third quarter before Breschi found the back of the net on a Cooper assist to make the score 10-8. Oskar Djusberg scored for the Golden Bears with 3:09 left in the third, giving them an 11-8 advantage.

Beachamp's goal to start the fourth quarter put the Bobcats in quite the hole but they were able to dig out of it to earn their second victory of the season.  

Breschi scored a game-high four goals to pace the Bobcats while Chlastawa scored once and dished out a game-high four assists. Knapton scored three times and Jones added three goals and two assists. Mullally scored twice and dished out a pair of assists as well. 

The Bobcats outshot the Golden Bears 56-31 and won the ground ball battle 42-33. Steven Kerr made 19 saves in goal for Western New England and Strain made five saves for Bates.

Fantoni was a terror on defense for the Bobcats, causing a game-high five turnovers and recording a team-high seven ground balls. Bates won the turnover battle 16-23.

The Bobcats are back in action Saturday at Garcelon Field when they host Trinity at 1:00 p.m.