FAIRFIELD, CT (WBNG BINGHAMTON) Junior attackman Paul O’Donnell scored a career-high five goals, including the go-ahead goal in Binghamton’s 8-6 win on the road over Sacred Heart. His goal with 9:01 remaining in the fourth was the difference, pushing Binghamton to 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Binghamton carried a halftime lead of 4-1, but Sacred Heart was able to tie things up at 6-6 early in the fourth quarter. O’Donnell provided the answer, scoring his fifth goal of the afternoon at the nine-minute mark that made the score 7-6. Sophomore Mitch Rick gave the visitors breathing room with his first collegiate goal and the Bearcats held on for the 8-6 triumph on Sunday afternoon.
O’Donnell, a native of Skaneateles, N.Y., came into the season with five career goals and matched that today. He scored on the man-up three times as BU went 5-of-12 overall with the advantage. Also scoring for Binghamton a pair of times was senior Matt Springer. The fifth-year senior, who has 96 career goals, added an assist as well.
Junior Tucker Nelson, who tallied 27 assists last season, handed out a team-high four assists on Sunday. Midfielder Michael Antinozzi also dished out an assist, improving his active point-scoring streak to 32 consecutive games. Overall, Binghamton outshot SHU 47-25 and won the faceoff battle all afternoon long. Freshman Dan Mazurek had a fantastic debut, winning 12-of-17 from the ‘x’ and scooped up a team-high 10 ground balls.
Binghamton jumped out first in the opener on an unassisted man-up goal from O’Donnell at the 12:37 mark. The Bearcats kept the pressure up in the first, hitting the post on a Emmett O’Hara shot attempt a few minutes later. After a turnover in their own half, SHU allowed their second goal of the game, this time to senior Matt Springer.
The hosts cut the deficit to one, but it was O’Donnell who boosted the Bearcats’ lead to 3-1. His goal with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter mirrored his first goal as an extra man opportunity.
Either team failed to capitalize in the second quarter’s opening 13:30 of play until O’Donnell struck again. He buried his third man-up goal of the half and registered his first career hat trick. The score would remain 4-1 heading into halftime as the Bearcats outshot SHU 25-8 and went 3-of-5 on man-up opportunities.
SHU goalie Jon Flood kept the home squad in the game throughout the first 30 minutes, making 11 saves for the NEC school.
The third quarter started off in good favor for Sacred Heart. They scored a pair of goals to cut their deficit to just one, 4-3 with 11:57 remaining in the quarter. Later in the third, O’Donnell netted his fourth goal of the game, scoring off a feed from Nelson. However, SHU responded quickly with Cody Marquis’ second goal of the quarter to make it 5-4 in favor of Binghamton.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Sacred Heart allowed BU the man-advantage with just over three minutes left in the third. Captain Michael Antinozzi worked the ball to Springer who recorded his second goal of the afternoon, putting the visitors ahead 6-4. SHU rebounded with a goal of their own, but Binghamton still held the 6-5 lead heading to the fourth.
Just over three minutes into the final quarter, Sacred Heart leveled the score at 6-6 on a goal from Mike Mawdsley. A few minutes later opened the stage for O’Donnell’s game winner and the Bearcats were able to seal the victory with Rick’s man-up goal at the 4:40 mark. Binghamton is now 3-0 all-time versus Sacred Heart with the win.
Binghamton was excellent on defense Sunday afternoon, causing 12 turnovers and also won the ground ball battle by a count of 29-22. Junior goalie Max Schefler made seven saves in net to secure his sixth career victory.
The Bearcats have a week off before they host Siena at the Bearcats Sports Complex on Saturday, Feb. 22 at noon. The Saints are 1-1 this season, defeating Hobart 12-7 on the road yesterday.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University)