Slip slip, slide away.
After lightning delayed the start of Tuesday’s game by almost an hour, Penn men’s came back from a three-goal, fourth-quarter deficit to tie the score 8-8, before falling in overtime to Philly neighbor Saint Joseph’s, 9-8, in the team’s regular season finale.
“I think our biggest issue on the day was facing off,” coach Mike Murphy said. “We knew their kid was good, we were slipping around a lot and also had some other issues that I think impacted our ability to win some face-offs.”
While this is not a new problem for the Red and Blue (8-6), it certainly did not help them in Tuesday night’s game.
Due to lightning and heavy rain, the two squads only faced off at 8 PM after a slated 7 PM start.
The first score belonged to the Red and Blue. Sophomore Reilly Hupfeldt put one into the back of the net off an assist from senior attack Nick Doktor, the first of three assists on the night for Doktor.
But as the two squads continued to play on Rhodes Field — damp and slippery as it was — the Hawks (10-3) responded with two goals, slipping ahead of Penn, 2-1, with 6 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Red and Blue came back with two of their own with scores from Alex Roesner and senior Pat Berkery.
After the first 15 minutes, the two Philly teams seemed to be in a game of ping pong, bouncing back and forth on scores keeping it close.
The second period would have a different character.
Freshman goalkeeper Reed Jukin and the Red and Blue defense let in five for the Hawks. Penn’s only score before the half came from Kevin Brown to break up Saint Joseph’s scoring streak.
The Quakers’ lead had slid away, going into the locker room down, 7-4.
But Penn took back control.
The Red and Blue offense held control of the ball for the majority of the third period. With their possession time, Penn attempted 12 shots on the Hawks’ goalkeeper, yet only converted on one.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” Murphy said. “Not our sharpest day in any phase really.”
Freshman Simon Mathias put one in with 10:48 left in the third just following the Hawks’ Mike Rastivo’s second of the night.
“We were a little bit out of sorts defensively in the first half,” Murphy said. “Then we settled down and played much better defense in the second half obviously giving up one goal.”
Mathais’ score would be the last of the period.
If the Red and Blue spent the third period cutting it close, in the fourth they got it done.
Junkin didn’t allow a single ball in the net from the Hawks keeping them at eight goals.
Meanwhile, Penn’s offense surged ahead to tie the score.
“They played pretty good defense,” Murphy said. “They started playing some zone, but our zone offense was sharp and scored a couple goals against them.”
Three different players scored those last three goals for the Red and Blue. First Hupfeldt, followed by veteran attack Doktor and the last was Mathias’ second of the game.
With the score all tied up, 8-8, the Quakers’ held possession as the clock wound down in regulation time, but they were unable to secure a win and thus the game went to overtime.
But the Red and Blue ran out of steam and the victory slipped from their fingers when Hawks’ Kevin Forster scored his second of the game three minutes into the sudden death overtime.
While this was the last regular season match-up for the Quakers, their season is not over yet.
In just under two weeks the Red and Blue will go to the Ivy Tournament and try to repeat what they were able to do two years ago in winning the weekend and going on to the NCAA Tournament.
“We’ve got 11 days off now before we go to the Ivy Tournament,” Murphy said. “Hopefully we can rejuvenate ourselves and correct some things from this game and put our best foot forward in the Ivy tournament.”
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