Wesleyan’s Max Landow scored 29 seconds into overtime, giving the Cardinals a 9-8 instant victory over Middlebury in men's lacrosse action on Saturday afternoon at Wesleyan. The Cardinals improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in NESCAC play, while the fifth-ranked Panthers suffer their first defeat, dropping to 2-1 on the season and 1-1 in conference play.
Wesleyan’s Joe Del Visco won his 13th faceoff in 19 attempts in the contest as teammate Pete Modera scooped up the ground ball, giving the Cardinals the opening possession of overtime and called a timeout with 3:49 on the clock. Bernatavitz began with the ball on the right side, eventually setting up Landow for the game-winner 18 seconds after the timeout. Bernatavitz assisted on each of Landow's three goals, the first two coming 3:38 apart early in the second quarter, giving Wesleyan a 4-2 lead at the time.
Though Middlebury began the day's scoring on a high shot from the right side by John McGoldrick, his third of the year, at 7:45 of the first quarter, the lead lasted 35 seconds as Teddy Citrin evened the count at 7:10. Wesleyan never trailed the rest of the way, leading by as many as three goals, 5-2, and again, 6-3, which proved to be the halftime score. The game was tied three times, at 2-2, 7-7 and 8-8. Middlebury’s Tim Cahill scored the last two equalizers including one with 9:41 left in the fourth quarter producing the final deadlock. It was his second goal of the game and sixth of the season. Cahill’s first goal was a man-advantage that tied the game at 7-7 with 12:42 to go, but Gabe Kelley put a bouncer in from long range at 11:29, putting Wesleyan on top, 8-7.
Middlebury’s leading scorer Dave Hild notched four of his squad's eight goals and assisted on another, keeping the Panthers within reach throughout the game. His two goals in a span of 1:08 cut the Cardinals' 6-3 halftime lead to 6-5 at 10:08 of the third quarter. Citrin responded with his third goal of the contest off a set-up from Bernatavitz, giving Wesleyan a 7-5 advantage with 5:17 left in the quarter. Bernatavitz ended the game with a goal and four assists.
The teams played the final 9:41 of regulation scoreless, the longest period of time without a goal in the game. Each team had strong scoring chances in the final 9:41, as Wesleyan goalie Grant Covington made three of his 15 saves during the stretch. Middlebury’s goalie Ryan Deane made a stop and was aided by a crossbar when Citrin rang a shot squarely off the top of the goal with 6:50 left. Deane ended the game with seven saves.