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Canisius men’s lacrosse upsets No. 1 Seed Quinnipiac in MAAC Semis

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Senior Ryan McKee scored at the 2:59 mark of overtime to lift fourth-seeded Canisius to an 11-10 upset of top seed Quinnipiac in the first semifinal of the 2018 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship Thursday at Kessler Stadium in West Long Branch, N.J. 
 
McKee's overtime tally earns the Golden Griffins (7-8) a spot in Saturday's championship contest, where they will face No. 2 seed Detroit Mercy at 10 a.m. on ESPNU. The Titans advanced to the championship game after defeating Monmouth 12-9 Thursday afternoon.
 
Senior Steven Coss led all players with six points on two goals and four assists while senior Connor Kearnan chipped in two goals and three assists. Three players – McKee, senior Keith Pravato and sophomore Carter Stefaniak – pitched in two goals each.
 
Ryan Corcoran recorded three goals while Foster Cuomo and Will Vitelli chipped in two goals apiece for the Bobcats (9-6).
 
McKee's overtime winner came just moments after Quinnipiac had a chance to win the game after Mike Fletcher intercepted a Canisius clearing attempt near midfield, but his shot on the Griffs' vacant cage hit the left post and rolled out of play, giving possession back to Canisius.
 
The Griffs were able to get the ball downfield on its next clearing attempt and called timeout. After returning to play, Kearnan fed McKee in the alley, who wired a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the cage to send Canisius to its third MAAC Championship game appearance in school history, and its first since 2012.
 
Canisius led for most of the contest, using goals from Coss, Kearnan and sophomore Mathieu Boissonneault in during a 2:44 span early in the first quarter to erase a 1-0 deficit and take a 3-1 lead.
 
Corcoran responded less than a minute later for the Bobcats to trim the deficit to 3-2, but Pravato had an answer for the Griffs just 39 ticks later to restore Canisius' two-goal cushion.
 
The teams traded goals during the final minute of the first quarter as Corcoran scored with 52 seconds to play to pull Quinnipiac within one, but Kearnan deposited a feed from Coss on the doorstep with seven ticks on the clock to give the Griffs a 5-3 lead after one.
 
Coss opened the second-quarter scoring with a man-up goal at the 11:21 mark of the second quarter to extend the Canisius cushion to 6-3, but goals from Sam Witt and Tomsik cut the Griffs margin to one, 6-5.
 
Stefaniak got one back for Canisius before the end of the frame, however, beating Quinnipiac keeper Joe Zukauskas with 21 seconds remaining to send the Griffs to the locker room with a 7-5 lead.
 
The teams traded goals during the third quarter as Corcoran completed his hat trick less than two minutes into the frame before Pravato struck with exactly nine minutes to play in the stanza to restore the Griffs' two-goal margin, 8-6.
 
Cuomo sparked a comeback for the Bobcats early in the fourth quarter, opening the frame with goals just 52 seconds apart to tie the game before Fletcher found the back of the net at the 8:56 mark to give Quinnipiac its first lead for the first time since the opening quarter, 9-8.
 
McKee tied the game for the Griffs a little more than a minute later, but Vitelli recorded his second goal of the contest just 20 seconds later after McKee's goal to put the Bobcats back in front, 10-9.
 
The score would remain in favor of Quinnipiac until the final minute of regulation, when Stefaniak beat Zukauskas with a shot just inside the left post with 12 seconds left on the clock to tie the game and set up McKee's overtime heroics.
 
Senior Liam Ganzhorn recorded 12 saves between the pipes for Canisius. Zukauskas posted nine saves in goal for Quinnipiac.
 
Head Coach Mark Miyashita Postgame Comments
"Today was a great game. It was back and forth against a Quinnipiac squad that ran the table during the regular season and were a very deserving champion. We felt as though if we could stay with them goal-for-goal for the most part, that we'd have a great opportunity to compete in the fourth quarter and in the case of today's game, a little more bonus lacrosse."
 
"Right before the fourth quarter started we came together as a group and took two deep breaths to re-focus ourselves and kind of relax and I think that helped even though they went on that run against us, that centered everybody. We've been in this position before, clawing back into games and chipping away. It's a credit to our senior class."
 
"The energy was great in overtime. The boys felt like we had it and we had a great opportunity. They trusted the X's and O's and executed the play perfectly. I'm happy for this group of men. We've come together in a short period of time and what they've done since August of buying into what our coaching staff has asked them to do is tremendous and I give them all the credit in the world."
 
Game Notes
• Canisius improved to 4-8 against Quinnipiac with Thursday's victory. The win also evened the Griffs recorded against the Bobcats in the MAAC Championship to 1-1.
• Canisius improved its record in the MAAC Championship to 5-7 with Thursday's overtime victory.
• Thursday's win advances the Griffs to the title game of the MAAC Championship for the third time in program history (2008 & 2012).
• The contest was Canisius' second overtime contest of the season as Griffs moved to 2-0 in extra-session games in 2018 (14-13 victory over Furman on Feb. 24).
• Canisius improved to 5-4 in games decided by two goals or less with Thursday's overtime victory. Four of the Griffs last six contests have been decided by two goals or fewer.  
• Senior Steven Coss matched his season high with six points (2g, 4a) on Thursday, matching his total against Siena on March 24. The performance was Coss' third outing of five or more points this season.
• Senior Connor Kearnan recorded three assists on Thursday, giving him 47 for the season and moving him within two helpers of matching Randy Mearns for first place on the program's single-season assists list (49 in 1990).
• Kearnan recorded five or more points in a game for the ninth time this season and the 16th in his career with his five-point effort on Thursday.
• Senior Liam Ganzhorn recorded double-digit saves for the seventh time this season and the 21st time in his career as he finished with 12 saves.