Relentless Offensive Attack Yields Little Results in Firebirds’ 14-6 Loss at Chestnut Hill
LAFAYETTE HILL, PA – The Firebirds ripped off 40 shots on the day, 22 of which were on goal, but Griffins goalkeeper Joseph Donnely was up to the task, making 16 saves in a 14-6 win for Chestnut Hill over University of the District of Columbia in East Coast Conference men's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon.
UDC was still in ECC playoff contention in this, the program's inaugural season until today's loss dropped the Firebirds to 2-5 in league play (3-7 overall) and out of the race. Freshman attack Chase Fraser (Elementary Education – Aldergrove, BC/Blue Ridge School) and sophomore defender Luke Gillespie (Business Management – Maple Ridge, BC/Pfeiffer University) each scored a pair of goals to lead the Firebirds offensively. Gillespie also had an assist and led the team with seven ground balls and five caused turnovers on defense.
Junior goalkeeper Tom Yancheski faced 28 shots on goal and stopped 16 of them (57-percent) in almost 53 minutes of work. This was the fifth time this season Yancheski has had 15 or more saves as he ranks 3rd in the ECC in saves this season. Sophomore Pat Payne (Environmental Science – Catonsville, MD/CCBC Catonsville) came on in relief for the final seven minutes and made three saves while allowing two goals.
Mark Winkelspecht led the Chestnut Hill charge with four goals, including three consecutives goals in the Griffin-dominated second period. George Markey and the 5th leading scorer in the ECC, Michael Melnychenko each added two goals as well.
Both teams started slow in the first quarter, but CHC's 10-6 shot advantage led to two goals while UDC was held scoreless. In the second period, Fraser put the Firebirds on the board just before the 14-minute mark with an unassisted goal. Chestnut Hill, however, would respond with five unanswered goals to close out the first half. Winkelspect scored the first three and Tanner Fisher and Ryan Hildebrand scored within 13 seconds of each other, both in the final minute before intermission. The Griffins took a 7-1 lead at the break.
After over 10 minutes of scoreless action in the third period once play resumed, Melynchenko extended the CHC lead to 8-1 with a goal at the 4:24 mark. The Firebirds responded with back-to-back goals by junior attack Ben Taylor (Biology – New Westminster, BC/Simon Fraser University) and Fraser to make it 8-3, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way. Taylor's goal was his 14th of the season and was assisted by Gillespie – his 5th assist of the year. Fraser's goal was his 2nd of the game and team-leading 27th of the season. This marks the 7th multiple-goal game by the freshman this year.
Following Fraser's goal which came at the 1:19 mark, the Griffins opened up an eight-goal lead (11-3) with three consecutive goals in the final 33 seconds of the period.
Junior midfielder Michael King (Public Administration – Kansas City, MO/St. John's University MN) scored his fifth goal of the year to open the final period, and Gillespie scored both his goals in the fourth period as well. But Chestnut Hill scored three goals of its own to match UDC, and coasted to the 14-6 victory.
The Firebirds will conclude their inaugural season with a home game vs. ECC foe Molloy on Sunday, April 27th at 1:30 p.m.