The Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team couldn’t have asked for a better way to start off both the 2006 campaign and a new era on the field.
The Bobcats derailed the Wagner Seahawks, cruising to a 13-3 non-conference victory in the first regular season game at the campus’ new turf field Saturday.
“We came out pretty fired up,” said junior Tucker Prudden, who scored three goals and registered two assists on the chilly afternoon. “I think the intensity brought us where we needed to be. In my career here, we haven’t started our season with a win. So now we’re starting 1-0, I think it brings us a little momentum to carry us through the next couple home games.”
The Bobcats got off to a quick start early in the first stanza. They controlled the flow of the game right away, setting the tone by spreading the field and creating scoring opportunities.
Quinnipiac scored the game’s first three goals before Wagner could even put together a single possession.
“We knew early on that we had to come out and get on them early,” said fifth-year head coach Eric Fekete. “We wanted to get on the board early and kind of maintain and control the tempo of the game. I thought our veterans did a nice job of really controlling the ball and getting on the scoreboard early. It makes a big difference in the flow of the game.”
Three minutes and 21 seconds into the game, Prudden swooped in and snapped a shot past Wagner goalkeeper Chris Sochacki (15 saves, 13 goals against).
Quinnipiac followed this up as Sean McBride took a dish from junior Chris Griffin on the right side and converted it into a goal with 8:57 left in the first. Griffin (one goal, three assists) then shifted it to Prudden, who fired a shot past Sochacki to make it 3-0 with 7:29 remaining.
Jeff Policicchio slipped in from the right side and connected on a shot on goal, putting Wagner in the scoring column with 4:29 to go. Griffin and senior Eric Trama (two goals, three assists) were whistled for illegal body check penalties directly after the goal was scored.
McBride fired a shot past Sochacki with 2:51 remaining, closing out a first period in which the Bobcats outshot the Seahawks by a 14-4 ratio. Quinnipiac outshot Wagner by a 50-19 margin on the day, 20-4 in the third period.
Griffin tallied a goal off a nice look from Trama 1:02 into the second frame. This sparked a fierce 8-0 run which wasn’t thwarted until the fourth. Eddie Morley, McBride, Prudden, Trama and junior defenseman Anthony Poerio all scored during this stretch.
The Seahawks had no answers. John Donnellan and Kevin Brown, who scooped up a combined 10 groundballs to lead a strong defensive unit, delivered several eye-popping hits. Donnellan planted a couple of opponents in the turf, allowing Quinnipiac to gain momentum as the second period came winding down.
Sean McBride’s goal from the left built the lead to seven with 2:14 to play in the second. Thirty-four seconds later, Morley knifed through defenders and netted a shot from the right side to make it 9-1.
A streaking Josh Murray drew defenders to him on the right side, before he snapped the ball to Prudden on the move. Prudden again fired one past Sochacki, and Quinnipiac held a commanding 10-1 lead. Trama then notched back-to-back goals. The senior caught Sochacki off-balance on his second shot on goal, which padded the insurmountable lead with 14:45 remaining in the fourth.
The Bobcats’ James Nastro collected six saves, allowing just one goal during his 45 minutes in net. Sophomore Roger Fish stopped five shots in just under seven minutes.
“Playing at home is such an advantage for us,” Fekete said. “We realize that we’re representing the school and defending a home field here. We talked a lot about having a lot of pride, representing the school, and these guys have really bought into it. This win will certainly help perpetuate us to where we need to go.”