The Scarlet Knights squared off against the Seawolves on a sunny, cool March afternoon in Stony Brook, Long Island. The game was a see-saw affair, that saw multiple ties and lead changes and complete domination by the Seawolves in the face-off circle.
Shane Knobloch kicked off the scoring less than 3 minutes into the game with multiple dodges before sending one past Stony Brook goalie Anthony Palma. Stony Brook won the subsequent face-off and picked up a man up opportunity on a Dugenio holding call but Rutgers was able to kill it off and turn the Seawolves over. Losing face-offs and having to force turnovers became a common theme for the Knights on Saturday.
Knobloch quickly logged his 2nd goal on a beautiful spin move, followed up by an Eric Civetti goal to put RU up 3-0. However, as they would do all game, Stony Brook countered, scoring 3 consecutive goals of their own to tie the score up.
Brian Cameron scored at 2:38 in a man-up situation to put the Knights back up 4-3. RU scored again before the quarter ended as Cole Daninger dislodged the ball loose and long-sticker Jake Stahanczyk scooped it up on the fly, raced down the field, fired a pass to Mitch Bartolo, who fed it to Ross Scott for a classic Rutgers “Nascar” transition goal.
The Seawolves quickly rallied with two goals of their own to tie the score at 5 heading into the 2nd quarter. .
Scott opened the scoring, taking a beautiful feed from Knobloch and firing it in from point-blank range but the Seawolves would counter with 3 straight goals of their own to go up 8-5 and appear to seize momentum. Rutgers was mired in a 10-minute scoring drought before Brian Cameron fired one into goal to close gap to 8-7. The Seawolves pushed the lead back to 2 but the Knights caught a break when the Stony Brook goalie made a save but his own man poked it in going for the rebound and an own goal, bringing the Knights within 1. Mitch Bartolo then scored with less than a minute left in the quarter to knot things up once again and send the teams into the locker rooms knotted 9-apiece.
Both goalies appeared to come out more settled and seeing the ball much better in the second half, with Palma and Kirst both making key stops. After a scoreless six minutes, Kirst made a highlight-reel save from point blank range and quickly fired a pass out in transition that Ross Scott cashed in for his 3rd of the game. Mitch Bartolo followed with a goal of his own a couple minutes later but the Seawolves one again countered to tie the score at 11.
Rutgers then punched back with two consecutive goals of their own - the first by Ronan Jacoby. This was followed by a goal off a beautiful assist by Scott, who wrapped around the back of the net and found a cutting Ryan Gallagher in space for the score. The teams headed to the 4th with RU holding a slim 15-13 lead.
The scoring started off of an Ethan Rall caused a turnover, allowing the Knights to run free in transition, with Cameron ultimately sending it home. Another Kirst save lead to Scott’s 4th goal of the game on a sensational pass from Knobloch, giving RU its biggest lead of the game at 4.
RU then had an own goal of their own to help the Seawolves close to within 3. Rutgers scored the next two goals, despite losing each face-off, as their D continued to pressure Stony Brook and force turnovers. They played around-the-world on their 17th goal with a pass from Scott on the left side of net, centered out to Cameron, who found Jacoby on the right flank, with Ronan firing the ball in for a 17-12 lead.
Just when we thought the game was in hand, Stony Brook, as they have done all afternoon, had one major run left with four consecutive goals of their own. Rutgers could simply not win a face-off to help stem the tide. The Seawolves had a chance to tie under the 3-minute mark, but Brennan Kammish dislodged the ball, Ethan Rall scooped it up but Rutgers was unable to pad their lead.
The tensions mounted as the Seawolves ran their final offensive possession with a little over a minute left. The Knights packed defenders into the crease and Kirst made his final of 12 saves with 13 ticks left. Ethan Rall scrambled to pick up the loose ball in front of the net and Rutgers safely ran out the clock to escape with the victory, and a nation-best 6-0 mark.
Huge defensive stand by #RUMLax to close out the victory!— Rutgers Men's LAX (@RUmlax) March 5, 2022
Colin Kirst makes the save in the final seconds and Ethan Rall scoops the ground ball and runs out the clock to ensure the win! pic.twitter.com/SJev4WYU28
My Final Thoughts
- Last week, fans were unable to catch the exciting win over Loyola. This week, the game was streamed on ESPN3+ and I sucked it up and purchased a month by month subscription. After listening to the color announcer, a Stony Brook homer, I want my 6.99 back. I kid but it was a painful broadcast for Knights fans.
- Rutgers were outmatched on face-offs today, I believe losing 25 of 37. While credit must go to Seawolves face-off specialist Renz Conlon for completely dominating, had Dugenio and Stephan been remotely close to winning 50% today, the game doesn’t come down to a last-second defensive stand.
- Rutgers only had 6 turnovers but caused 14, which was a key reason they escaped with a W.
- Ethan Rall had a stellar game with 4 ground balls and 2 caused turnovers.
- Shane Knobloch tied career highs with five points and two assists and logged his third straight hat trick.
- Ross Scott had his second straight four-goal game and third time through six games with at least four goals and tied his career-high with three ground balls.
- Mitch Bartolo had a career-high three assists.
- Brian Cameron had his third game as a Scarlet Knight of at least three goals.
- Rutgers earned its seventh win lifetime over Stony Brook, evening the all-time series.
Rutgers plays their 3rd consecutive road game, heading to local in-state rival #18 Princeton, who will be ranked much higher on Monday after their win over #3 Georgetown Saturday.
C.J. Kirst, younger brother of Colin and Connor, had 4 goals and an assist in Cornell’s win over #5 Ohio State. The Kirst family, even in games not involving RU, continues to pay dividends for Rutgers lacrosse.