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Gibson Goal Gives Yale 6th Straight Win

Matt Gibson  (photo by Don Clark '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Matt Gibson (photo by Don Clark '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

No. 20 Blue Beats Bryant in 2 OT

NEW HAVEN, Conn.  – One men's lacrosse winning streak had to end today and it turned out to be the longest one. No. 20 Yale ended No. 19 Bryant's string at 10 when Matt Gibson (in photo) scored with 1.7 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Elis an 11-10 win and a sixth straight victory before 1,275 at Reese Stadium.

Yale's two-time All-America pick was kept off the scoreboard through five periods of thrilling action, though he did make two great passes to set up scores. Gibson, who had three points, moved around the net, spun and fired through Jameson Love's legs just before time expired on the new stadium scoreboard clock.

"We were trying to get into a play, and I looked up at the clock with I think 12 seconds left," said Gibson, who gave Yale its third straight OT win. "I knew that we had to make something happen fast, so I just kind of took my guy up the left side. He was playing good defense all game but that time I managed to stutter step and then get a shot from my left hand. It ended up going through the goalie's legs."

Junior defenseman Glenn Maiorano had been shadowing Gibson (25 goals, 40 points) all game. That could only work for so long.

"Their defense played really well, and the guy who was guarding me played very well.  They beat us two years ago on our field, so to score the game-winner means a lot for me to get a little bit of revenge. It's good for the team going into the playoffs to be able to pull off a win like that," said Gibson.

The game-winner was set up by Peter Johnson's great defensive play after Bryant had held the ball for the first three minutes of the second OT. Johnson got the ball away from an attackman and sent it up the field before the home team called time out.  Gibson ended up with the ball and, after making a few moves, looked up to see time was running out.

"We specifically wanted to defend their transition, especially their pole (Poli), number 55, who had three goals," said Johnson. "That plan didn't work out as well as expected. But 6-on-6, we played great.  We just needed to stop their transition opportunities."

Eight different Elis found the net including Greg Mahony, who led the Blue (8-4) with three tallies, and Deron Dempster (2).

The Yale offense has one player to thank for the opportunity to spread the wealth tonight, sophomore face-off specialist Dylan Levings, who is fifth in the nation with a .641 mark. He was going up against No. 4 Kevin Massa and the true battle of bulldogs (both players took every face-off) went to Levings with 16 wins in 25 attempts, including nine straight.  

"I watched a lot of film on it and studied what he did," said Levings.  "I was pretty comfortable with what he was going to do, so I just tried to go out there and do my thing and see if that worked.  I had my adjustments if it didn't."

Bryant (11-3), also nicknamed the Bulldogs, scored three straight goals over the last two and a half minutes to send the game into extra play. Mason Poli took the ball away from a Yale player in the home end, raced the length of the field, while almost falling twice, and then scored with 20.6 seconds left in regulation.

Yale sophomore goalie Jack Meyer faced 40 shots and made 13 saves, the exact total for the Bryant netminder, who saw 41 attempts.

The defenses dominated early. The first ball that found the net, from Bryant's Matt Larson, came at 2:17 of the opening quarter. That was Yale's only deficit of the night.

The Elis answered with 42 seconds left in the first on a spectacular Dempster tally. The junior attackman, who had two highlight-type scores, took a behind-the-net feed from Matt Gibson while beginning to spin a few feet outside the crease. He deposited the ball inside the far post.

Michael McCormack, who had a game-high five caused turnovers, created the opportunity for Yale's second goal and a 2-1 lead at the first break. The defenseman, who notched his second goal of the year during an eight-goal third period, snatched the ball from a black jersey and sent it to Michael Pratt before the captain tallied his sixth of the season.

Yale, which had leads of 6-3 and 10-7, had a slight edge in shots and ground balls in a game where the teams combined to go 0-for-9 with the extra man.

"I think we did a great job," said Yale head coach Andy Shay, who has seen his Bulldogs play a school-record 12 OT sessions this spring. "We wanted to win face-offs and we wanted to swallow up the time possession, and i think we did a very good job of that. They were playing great defense.  They were sliding at times and not sliding at other times, and I think we had to be opportunistic, and the guys stepped up at the right times."

The Elis, who will play in their third straight Ivy League Tournament next month, close out the regular season by hosting Harvard next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Reese Stadium.


Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director