Bonnies Score Win Over Canisius In 12-11 Thriller

Jackson Rose celebrates a goal during Sunday's win. (Photo by: Nathan DeSutter)
Jackson Rose celebrates a goal during Sunday's win. (Photo by: Nathan DeSutter)
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ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – For the second time in less than a week, the St. Bonaventure and Canisius men's lacrosse teams fought back-and-forth in an entertaining battle, but Sunday afternoon it would be the Bonnies scoring the victory, 12-11, at the Marra Athletics Complex.

Though Sunday's game did not count in the MAAC standings, that was impossible to tell from the competition between the Little Three rivals.

Jake Rosa led the Bonnies with six points off two goals and a program-record four assists. Austin Blumbergs posted his third hat trick of the year while Mark Belles also scored twice for the hosts. In all, eight different players scored for the Bonnies.

Canisius scored the first two goals of the day as the weather transitioned from rain at the start to overcast and then sunny as the afternoon went along. Belles gave the Bonnies their first goal with 4:05 left in the quarter and the score was 2-1 after 15 minutes.

The Griffs (3-3) grabbed a two-goal lead again four minutes into the second, then the teams alternated goals before the visitors stretched to a 5-2 edge with 4:28 left in the half.

The Bonnies (3-4) were down just one, 5-4, at the break, but opened up a 6-0 run between the second and third quarters, rolling to an 8-5 lead with 8:14 left in the third after Sean Westley found Blumbergs for another tally.

Canisius would answer with a 3-0 run of its own, though, tying the game at 8-8 27 seconds into the fourth quarter on a goal from Nathan Conry.

St. Bonaventure pushed ahead on back-to-back goals less than 50 seconds apart from Jackson Rose and the third of the day from Blumbergs.

The Griffs would emphatically counter-punch, though, scoring on a tally from Keegan Kozack before Connor Beals won the faceoff and rocketed in a shot just six seconds later to tie the game, 10-10, with 10:28 remaining.

The tie would last for just over a minute, however, as Belles broke the deadlock with an incredible play. He picked off a Canisius pass behind the net, wheeled past the post and made the Canisius defense pay with the keeper caught out of position.

Bona struck again on the first goal of the year from Cian Collins off the 15th assist of the season from Rosa with 4:28 to play. Canisius got within one again with a goal by Jackson Webster with 3:32 left, but the Bonnies would hold strong defensively over the final minutes to preserve the win.

The Bonnies became the first team to score a power play goal against the Griffs penalty kill this season – and in fact went 3-for-7 on the man-up after Canisius had successfully killed off the first 14 penalties against them this year, the only Division I team to not surrender a shorthanded goal entering the day.

Brett Dobson, the reigning MAAC Defensive Player of the Week, made 15 saves in the cage for the Bonnies. Austin Holley, the reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week, won 10 of 24 faceoff attempts and scooped up seven groundballs.

Canisius held a 45-39 in shots on the day and went 2-for-5 in extra-man opportunities.

Brett Beetow, Zach Owens and Ben Garcia all scored for the Bonnies as well.

The 12 goals were the second-most for the Bonnies this year and their most during a home game since the rebirth of the program three years ago. St. Bonaventure also has won back-to-back home games.

Sunday's win is the first for the Bonnies against Little Three rival Canisius during the current era of St. Bonaventure men's lacrosse and the first for head coach Randy Mearns against his alma mater. St. Bonaventure and Canisius split four matchups between 1989 and 1992.

St. Bonaventure returns to action April 24 vs. Siena on home turf.

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