Quinnipiac win first conference game over Canisius; Improve to 3-2 on the year

Connor Coar

Quinnipiac opened up their in-conference play Saturday afternoon against Canisius after dropping their last two games against Bryant and Merrimack. The Bobcats were able to hold onto the lead in the late stages of the game, and won by a score of 13-12 over the Golden Griffs. 

“We talked about it in the locker room, preseason number six. [We] took a little disrespect to that,” head coach Mason Poli said after the win. “We wanted to come out and show them, come out on the right foot.” 

Scoring is the name of the game, but celebrations came in fewer proportions than your average lacrosse game in the first quarter. 

Canisius opened up the scoring just over a minute into the first quarter thanks to redshirt sophomore Colin Kelly’s first shot of the game from what seemed like it came all the way from the M&T Bank Arena.

Junior Trevor Douglas and senior John DeLucia both responded to the opening goal with one each. Douglas and DeLucia both finished the day with hat tricks along with senior Jake Tellers. 

To have so many goal-scorers on the offensive side for the Bobcats is clearly a great asset, but something that Poli doesn’t take for granted.

“If you’ve got six guys the opponents have to stop. It’s a lot harder to defend,” Poli said. “It allows us to do a lot offensively. The boys really did a great job sharing the ball with tempo. We found guys and we were able to capitalize.”

The largest lead the Bobcats had was three early in the second quarter. It didn’t take long for the Golden Griffs to cut the lead back down to two, but it didn’t come easy. 

With 3:18 seconds to go in the first half, three Bobcats defenders were sent off after committing penalties. That left the remaining three Bobcats and graduate student Nick DiMuccio between a rock and a hard place. 

“To see that many flags on the field I think is something new to me,” Poli said with a smile.

On paper, it seemed like the deficit would be cut merely seconds after play resumed, but like a lot of this game, you wouldn’t be able to see the game flow by just looking at the statistics. 

The Bobcats were able to hold their own and only allowed one shot that was not even on frame. 

“For those guys, it was a momentum swing.” Poli continued. “To be six [versus] three…it was big. For us to carry that and carry that lead helped us get through that first half.”

In the third quarter, both teams traded three goals a piece and set up an anxiety-inducing final quarter with the score sitting at 9-8 in favor of Quinnipiac. 

For any sport, it is vital for a team to win on the scoreboard. They have to do the little things on the field that can lead to overall success; something that the Bobcats have been getting better at, but still with room to improve. 

“One of our messages today after the past few weeks was controlling the game flow,” Poli said. “We struggled a little bit at times, but those lapses were a little bit shorter. I don’t think it was too much effort. It was a lack of attention to detail, some mental lapses that we have to work out of our system.”

After much back and forth in the fourth quarter, what would be the game-sealing goal came with 4:22 remaining off the stick from Tellers.

What has allowed this year’s squad to already surpass last year’s win total already comes down to something that can be overlooked with playing at such a high level. 

“We’re finally having fun with it again,” Tellers said. “The locker room is just a great place to be right now.”

Looking forward, Quinnipiac will take on Wagner for the first time in conference since the MAAC absorbed Sacred Heart, Long Island University, and Wagner after the NEC wouldn’t sponsor them after the end of last season. 

The Bobcats have never lost to the Seahawks. Their most recent win was a 9-7 victory back in 2019. The next game vs. the Seahawks is scheduled for March 18th at noon in New York.