No. 4 Bates men's lax tops ranked rival in dramatic fashion

BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The No. 4 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team scored four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to remain undefeated in a 13-12 victory over No. 16 Bowdoin Wednesday night. 

The Bobcats (9-0, 6-0 NESCAC) found themselves down 12-9 with 13:25 to go in the game when the Polar Bears' (6-3, 4-2 NESCAC) Brett Kujala found the back of the net on an assist from Matthew Crowell. 

It took Bates a few minutes but they responded.

With eight minutes remaining, senior captain Charlie Fay (Falmouth, Maine) scored his game-high fourth goal of the game, an unassisted tally to cut the deficit to 12-10.

Just over a minute later, Fay connected with first-year Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) who scored a tricky underhanded goal on the run, trimming the Bowdoin advantage down to one.

Chlastawa had a huge game, tallying three goals and two assists. 

Still down by one with 3:05 left, Bates caught a break when a Polar Bear got called for offsides, giving the Bobcats a 30-second man-up opportunity. Senior Jake Walsh (Baltimore, Md.) had his shot denied by Bowdoin keeper Peter Mumford. But Walsh didn't back down, finding senior captain Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) for the equalizer with 2:34 left in regulation. 

Bowdoin won the ensuing faceoff but sophomore goalkeeper Mitchell Drake (Annapolis, Md.) made a crucial save on a Matthew Crowell shot. Senior Scott Baber (Pound Ridge, N.Y.) picked up the ground ball and Bates successfully cleared it and called timeout with 1:32 remaining.

Bates athletics file photo

Out of the timeout, an initial Fay shot missed high but with 18 seconds left, senior Andrew Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) connected with Weber for the game-winner. Weber scored from 14 yards out, sending the visiting Bobcats into a celebratory frenzy. 

The Polar Bears won the faceoff but a last second desperation shot missed wide. 

Weber took 12 shots on the day. The first 10 missed their mark but the final two won the game for Bates.

The first half was just as tight as the second.

Bates got on the board first thanks to Chlastawa, who scored unassisted with 12:42 to go in the first quarter to give the Bobcats an early 1-0 lead.

But the Polar Bears scored the next three goals to take a 3-1 lead with 2:05 left in the first.

The Bobcats ended the first quarter on a high note when Melvin found junior Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) with one second left, trimming the Bowdoin edge to 3-2.

The teams traded goals to start the second quarter, with Fay scoring his first goal of the evening on an assist from Chlastawa. Bowdoin took advantage of a man-up opportunity with 12:24 left in the half to go up 4-3.

Then Fay scored a pair of goals in a span of just over a minute, the first on an assist from Baber and the second an unassisted tally to give the Bobcats a 5-4 lead with 5:55 to go in the half.

Walsh gave Bates their biggest lead of the game when he scored an unassisted goal with 3:11 remaining.

The Polar Bears cut the Bobcat lead to one with nine seconds left on a goal from Jake Crossman.

Up 6-5 at the half, Bates struggled to begin the third quarter of action. 

The Polar Bears scored two goals right off the bat to grab a 7-6 lead with 12:54 remaining in the third. But Chlastawa tied things up at seven with 10:49 left on an assist from Weber.

The Polar Bears scored the next three goals in the quarter to take a 10-7 advantage. With 4:48 left, sophomore Andrew Small (Deerfield, Ill.) tallied his fouth goal of the season to get Bates within two.

Then with 2:09 left in the third, Bates took advantage of a man-up opportunity when Chlastawa connected with Melvin, making the score 10-9 in favor of Bowdoin entering the fourth quarter.

Bowdoin scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter before Bates rallied for the win. The Polar Bears did not score in the final 13:25 of the game.

The game was as even as the score indicates with both teams tallying 40 shots. Drake made 11 saves in the cage while Mumford made 12 for Bowdoin. Bowdoin won 16 faceoffs to Bates' 12 and the Bobcats won the turnover battle, forcing 19 while only turning it over 14 times themselves. 

The Bobcats look to remain undefeated on the season this Saturday when they welcome Middlebury to town. The action begins at 1:00 p.m. at Garcelon Field.