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Griffs Prevail, 11-9, Despite Westley's Four Goals

Sean Westley scored a career-high four goals Tuesday night. (Photo by: Craig Melvin)
Sean Westley scored a career-high four goals Tuesday night. (Photo by: Craig Melvin)
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BUFFALO – Canisius held off a rising St. Bonaventure men's lacrosse squad Tuesday night on home turf, prevailing for an 11-9 victory.

Bonnies junior Sean Westley tallied a career-best four goals on nine shot attempts, adding three groundballs. Jake Rosa, who entered the night ranking second in the MAAC this season in assists per game, did much of his work by scoring goals himself as he added a hat trick along with one assist for four points.

Westley's four goals tie a program record, joining Rosa, who has achieved the feat twice, and Jackson Rose

Mark Belles added two points on a goal and an assist while Austin Blumbergs tallied a score as well.

One of the top defenses in the nation this season, the Bonnies again proved strong defensively as they held Canisius off the board for nearly 20 minutes to begin the game.

During that time, the Bonnies grabbed a 2-0 lead behind two points from Belles during the first quarter as he assisted Rosa for the game's first tally before adding a goal of his own just before the end of the period.

Canisius (3-2, 2-2 MAAC) would get on the board thanks to a pair of Bonaventure penalties just over four minutes into the second quarter, and the Griffs would score twice in just over 30 seconds to tie the game, 2-2.

Westley ended the Canisius momentum with a third Bonnies goal, but the Griffs would quickly tie the game again before the second strike of the night from Rosa. The two teams continued to exchange goals, heading to intermission knotted, 4-4.

Canisius would take its first lead on transition following a Bona turnover as Dan Kritkausky gave the hosts the first goal of the second half four minutes into the third quarter.

That would continue what became a 4-0 Griffs run for a 7-4 advantage, a seemingly huge lead in a defensive battle like Tuesday night.

Rosa allowed the Bonnies to bounce back, though, with the team's first tally of the second half with 4:22 left in the third, and just over a minute later, Blumbergs posted his first of the night with a rocket from the point to bring the visitors within one, 7-6, after 45 minutes.

The Bonnies had a brilliant opportunity to tie the game with two and a half minutes gone in the fourth when Ben Garcia caused a Griffs turnover and found John Fox in front of the cage. Fox's shot from point-blank range was stopped on a great save from the Canisius goalkeeper, though, to keep the visitors down by one.

With 11 minutes left, Canisius got some breathing room as Dan Kritkausky found an open lane for a shot fired over the Bona keeper for an 8-6 margin.

Westley pulled the Bonnies back within a goal after his second of the day with 9:19 to go, but the Griffs seized control right back by scoring twice in a 54-second span to squash the rally effort.

The Bonnies (2-4, 1-4) continued to battle as the fourth goal of the night from Westley brought them within two with 1:58 left, but another save from Matt Vavonese on a shot from Rosa followed by a second stop following an attempt from Beetow in the final minute kept the Griffs in front. Vavonese finished with nine saves.

Canisius held a 43-32 edge in shots, placing 26 of their attempts on goal. The Griffs still have not allowed a power play goal this year, successfully killing three penalties on the night. Turnovers were an issue for both teams as St. Bonaventure finished with 20 while Canisius had 19. The Griffs had an important advantage in the faceoff X, though, winning 17 of 24 attempts.

Zack Belter (three caused turnovers, three groundballs) and Brady Wijbrandts (three groundballs, two caused turnovers) played well defensively. Brett Dobson matched his season high with 15 saves in the cage.

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