Closing the Book on Penn State

Closing the Book on Penn State

Held at Vidas Field in West Philly, Drexel welcomed in Penn State over the weekend for a game that turned out to be an epic Triple OT contest won by the Dragons 13-12.  The game featured the CAA’s top 2 scoring offenses and also marked the last time these two teams will compete as members of the CAA.  The boys finished off their in-state counterpart when Mitch De Snoo tallied his second of the game with 46 seconds to go in the third OT.  The win brings the season record to 7-4, including 6 of their last 8, and it gives the Dragons a 4-2 advantage over PSU for their brief time as conference rivals (including the biggest win in the series when Drexel won in the the 2012 CAA semifinal at Happy Valley).

With no chance of seeing them in the CAA tourney, it’s time to close the book on PSU for good and move on to what will be a huge game against UMass next Saturday.

 

The Sunny

Ben McIntosh – You can look up online and find that Ben leads the CAA in goals (32) and goals per game (2.91).  You can dig further and find that he is ranked 10th in the country in goals per game, but also that he is #1 for middies in the same categories.  All of that you can find.  What you don’t know unless you attend these games, is that he also lines up on the wings for face-offs, he plays D like he’s been specialized for that role, and when this team needs a big play, he takes the ball on the right wing and dodges through two PSU defenders and sticks the game tying goal with 1:21 to play in the 4th quarter.  He isn’t flashy, he just plays tough.  He embodies “West Philly Ball” as much as anyone who has played for this program.

Mitch De Snoo – The big lefty Canadian has really come on over the last few games and has given this team some additional offense from a 2nd line midfield.  He’s been a fringe guy for a couple years now, but this game certainly validates the recent playing time Coach Ford has offered.  With 2 goals on the day; his first at the beginning of the 3rd quarter was the best looking of the 2, but Mitch and everyone in attendance will remember that second goal for a long time.  It’s one thing to be in the right place at the right time, it’s another to make it count …… and Mitch made it count.

The Coaches – big praise to the coaches in this one.  The team came out ready and prepared and really dominated the majority of the game.  Even though PSU owned the face offs and had a 7 to 2 man up advantage, the Dragons had 20 more shots and looked like the more aggressive team for most of the game.  After PSU went on a 5 goal run to end the second period, the team regrouped and scored the next 3 coming out of the locker room.  The Dragons thought they had won the game in the second OT, but when the refs made the call that the game would go on, the team never wavered.  In the final OT, Coach Voelker called a great time out which prevented a turnover, and then they promptly inserted Mitch De Snoo’s fresh legs and won the game with his fresh lefty rip.  Great job by the staff in this game.

The Defense – If you only saw the last 5 minutes of the first half you would never think that the D deserved to be in the sunny as they played a very poor 5 minutes.  But if you take away that 5 minute stretch, then you see that the group only allowed 7 goals during the other 70 minutes of lacrosse.  Further, you take away that second period and PSU only had 18 shots during 60 minutes of lacrosse.  Those are great numbers, and what this D is striving for over the course of a regular 60 minute game.  Special props to Tyler Houchins and Miles Thomas for 3 caused turnovers each in this one.

Ryan Belka – A three goal game that included a ton of solid dodging was just what the doctor ordered for Ryan Belka and this offense.  23 points this season will tell you that Belka has been good, but with Jules Raucci coming on strong and McIntosh being a star, the first line has been waiting for Ryan to shake the early season injury bug and get back to the high level of play that made him a first team CAA performer last season.  Not having any more weekday games has probably helped Belka the most, look out CAA if he gets going and Ben stays hot.

Turnovers – Yes, this is in the sunny section!!!!  One game of overall clean play doesn’t mean this team is out of the woods yet, but winning the TO battle 12-21 is a great start.

 

The Dark

Cole Shafer – The youngster would never land in this section due to the dip in production he has seen over the last few games, he is a freshman and now teams are starting to scout him hard.  But freshman or not, when you throw a horrible behind the back pass in OT which leads to a turnover, you get a mention in the dark side of things.  Let’s clean that up young buck.

Nick Saputo - I’m sorry Nick ….. I’m sorry!!!!  I’m not happy with this, Nick is a stud and arguably the best player on this team, but he had an off day.  I’m sure he’ll shake off the 6 for 18 performance and get back to work against UMass.  Even with the off day, his .645 winning % is still tops in the CAA.

Man Down – While the EMO is tops in the CAA, the man down unit is 2nd to last.  A 4-7 performance from the PSU man up doesn’t help things.  Need to get the special teams right for tourney time.

Will Gabes – The Freshman lefty had a tough outing on Saturday with only 6 saves, he’s lowest total for a game this season by far.  The save in the second OT was money, and obviously allowed for the game winner, but Will had trouble seeing the ball and never got into rhythm.  Let’s look for a bounce back performance from him next week.

 

UMass Next

UMass dropped a low scoring game to Towson over the weekend, but are still ranked #16 in the country and have some very impressive wins this season.  If Drexel wants a legit shot of hosting a semifinal game, something that will happen if they win these next 2, then they need to take care of business on Saturday.  Game is at 4pm, so get your yard work out of the way early and come out and support this team as they make the final push for the CAA tourney.