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Men’s Lacrosse: Irish lose heartbreaker on Denver’s last-minute goal

Ellyn Michalak | Monday, April 7, 2008

No. 19 Denver scored a goal in the final minute of play to defeat the No. 7 Irish (7-2, 1-1 GWLL) 9-8 this Saturday in Bridgeville, Ill. The loss broke Notre Dame’s eight-game GWLL winning streak that dated back to the 2007 season.

“I feel like we played a very good first half and a very poor second half. We were up 6-2 in the first half and it should have been a bigger lead then,” Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. “In my mind it’s a matter of us not taking advantage of our opportunities offensively.”

Junior attack Ryan Hoff led the team with three goals followed by sophomore midfielder Grant Krebs, who earned two scores in the contest. Senior goaltender Joey Kemp tied a career-high 13 saves on the game.

Notre Dame is now 7-2 on the season with a 1-1 record in league play.

The effective Irish offense allowed the team to jump out to an early 6-1 lead over the Pioneers in the first half. Krebs scored the first Irish goal of the game followed by junior attack Duncan Swezey and Hoff. With a 3-0 lead, Denver’s Jamie Lincoln scored the first of his three goals at the end of the first quarter.

Senior midfielder Michael Podgajny scored at the beginning of the second quarter to begin another 3-0 run for the Irish. Following Podgajny, Hoff and Krebs each earned their second goals of the day. The Pioneers junior defenseman Mike Anderson scored the final goal of the half beginning Denver’s five-goal run and making the score 6-2.

The Pioneers offense surged during the second half. Lincoln scored the first goal of the period, followed by goals from senior attack Brett Koll and sophomore midfielder John Dickenson. With only four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Pioneers tied the game at six apiece with a goal from junior attack Cliff Smith.

Notre Dame junior midfielder Dan Gibson then scored a goal, allowing the Irish to retake the lead, but another goal from Smith just before the end of the quarter resulted in a 7-7 tie at the end of the quarter.

With 9:26 remaining, Hoff earned his final goal of the game, giving the Irish an 8-7 lead, but Lincoln completed his hat trick shortly after, and again the game was tied. With 40 seconds remaining sophomore midfielder Ilija Gajic scored a goal, giving the Pioneers a 9-8 edge over the Irish.

“We’ve continued to give up some soft goals and had some soft turnovers throughout the season,” Corrigan said. “We’ve gotten away with it with other teams but didn’t this weekend.”

The Irish have a week off and will return to the play April 18 against Quinnipac.

“[The weekend off] will give us a chance to regroup and access where we are and get back to work on things both individually and as a team,” Corrigan said.