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Bonnies Score First MAAC Win, 9-8, Over Manhattan

Sean Westley scored a game-high five points in the Bonnies' win. (Photo by: Nathan DeSutter)
Sean Westley scored a game-high five points in the Bonnies' win. (Photo by: Nathan DeSutter)
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ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure's Brett Beetow broke an 8-8 tie with 2:21 remaining and his goal turned out to be the game-winner as the Bonnies scored their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) victory, 9-8, over visiting Manhattan Friday afternoon at the Marra Athletics Complex.

It turned out to be a memorable day for Beetow, who was celebrating his birthday, but several strong performances got the Bonnies into position to close out a win.

Sean Westley scored his second career hat trick, adding two assists for five points to power the offense. Jake Rosa posted two goals and two assists while Austin Blumbergs recorded a hat trick of his own with three goals.

Brett Dobson was again outstanding in the cage, making 15 saves, and freshman Austin Holley set program records in the faceoff X with faceoff wins (14) and groundballs (10).

"These guys have persevered. When the junior class came three years ago, they knew it would be hard," head coach Randy Mearns said. "They've started to taste the success and there's no better feeling. Brett Dobson had a day, Austin Holley with 14 faceoff wins was a difference in the game. Brett Beetow went wrong hand and did the old flip to bury the game-winner. We're enjoying this for a day and then we'll get back to the grind tomorrow. Our guys have earned this win and should really feel good about it."

In truth, Friday's victory was a long time in the making.

For one, it becomes Bona's first conference victory since the rebirth of the program in 2019. Last month, the team scored their first victory overall in a game that did not count toward the MAAC standings at Quinnipiac. In the past two weeks, the Bonnies had nearly got back into the win column, suffering heartbreaking one-goal losses at Monmouth (13-12) and last week vs. Quinnipiac when a Bobcats goal with 10 seconds to play sent the visitors to a 5-4 triumph.

The Bonnies (2-3, 1-3 MAAC) turned the tables Friday, and did so against Manhattan, which entered the day atop the conference standings after three straight MAAC wins.

The game started in odd fashion as the Jaspers (3-2, 3-1) opened the scoring when a Bonnies own goal put the visitors on the board 30 seconds into the game.

SBU responded with the next three goals – Blumbergs scored twice and Westley added a tally off a Cam Germain assist for a 3-1 lead before Liam Walshe ended the run with a Jaspers goal. Rosa and Westley combined for two goals in a seven-second span, though, and the Bonnies led 5-2 after the first quarter.

Bona would not score again until there were just five seconds left on the clock in the first half, heading to intermission ahead, 6-3.

Manhattan would tie up the contest, however, with the first three scores of the second half, posting the equalizer on a strike from Sean MacKinney with 7:53 left in the third quarter.

From there, it was a back-and-forth matchup.

Blumbergs deposited a pass from Westley in the net for a score to break the tie with 5:22 left in the third and the game would go to the final period with the Bonnies ahead by one.

Jake Emmick had perhaps the game's most impressive assist, flipping behind his back to Rosa in front for an 8-6 score four minutes into the fourth.

The next two goals would go to the Jaspers, however, and they would tie the game with 5:41 remaining.

Beetow finally pushed the Bonnies back in front by working behind the net and slipping through traffic for a wrap-around goal to break the tie.

From there, the Bonnies defense would hold strong for the final two minutes to preserve victory.

Manhattan held a 36-29 edge in shots while the Bonnies picked up 32 groundballs on the day including three apiece from Westley and John Fox. Brady Wijbrandts caused three turnovers on the defensive end while Nick Porfilio also caused two Jaspers turnovers.

Holley won 14 of 20 faceoff attempts in a crucial point of success for the Bonnies.

Brendan Krebs made 10 saves for Manhattan.

The Bonnies are quickly back in action, making a trip to Buffalo Tuesday night to play at Canisius beginning at 7 p.m.

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