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SUNY Potsdam laxmen rally past Oswego to clinch home playoff berth

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OSWEGO - Big players come through in big games.

Senior captain Rob Kunz (Watertown, N.Y.) did just that with five goals as the SUNY Potsdam men’s lacrosse team (10-4, 4-1 SUNYAC) rallied to down SUNY Oswego 10-6 on Wednesday afternoon.

The victory gives the Bears the No. 2 seed and a home playoff game in the SUNYAC Tournament for the second time in four seasons. Bears senior goalie Ryan Duffy (Liverpool, N.Y.) put on another show in the clutch with 16 saves. Sophomore midfielder Pat Bonafede (Churchville, N.Y) and sophomore attackman Ed Doherty (Amherst, N.Y.) each scored twice.

Goals were hard to come by in the mud at Oswego, but it was the Lakers with an early edge. Torry Whitcher put Oswego up 1-0 just over three minutes into the contest. At the 8:12 mark, Kunz tied the score, but Whitcher and Chris Porten scored the next two to give the Lakers a their first two-goal advantage of the game four minutes into the second quarter. At 5:41 of the period, Kunz cut the gap to 3-2 and the score remained the same at the half. Duffy had seven saves through the first 30 minutes.

The Lakers got the first two goals of the second half to build a 5-2 lead. Connor Khammar struck at 14:10 and added a man-up goal 11:23 to give Oswego its biggest cushion of the game. Four minutes later, Bonafede made it a 5-3 game and ignited a 6-0 run. With 2:08 remaining in the third quarter, Kunz completed his hat trick on with a man-up goal on an assist from junior midfielder Jon Woodworth (Carthage, N.Y.). Then Bonafede knotted the score at 5-5 with 35 seconds left in the quarter.

The scoring slowed down again in the final 15 minutes. Duffy was at his sharpest; making five saves in the quarter and allowing his offense to get moving again. Doherty finished a Woodworth feed to give Potsdam it’s first lead of the game with 8:25 remaining. Just 48 seconds later, freshman attackman Joe Hayes (Black River, N.Y.) made it 7-5 with a man-up goal on a helper from freshman attackman Matt Moran (Watertown, N.Y.). Kunz extended the lead to 8-5 with 3:58 remaining. Less than a minute later, Khammar set up Matt Palmer, but 8-6 was as close as the Lakers would get. Bonafede set up Kunz’s fifth in a man-up situation with 45 seconds left and Doherty put the nail in the coffin with just eight ticks on the clock.

Wyatt Russo made eight saves for the Lakers (6-8, 0-5) in the losing cause. Oswego edged Potsdam in shots (39-36) and faceoffs (10-8). The Bears were 3-6 in extra-man opportunities and the Lakers went 1-3.

Potsdam heads to SUNY Geneseo for a 1 p.m. showdown on Saturday to wrap up the regular season. The Bears have taken three of the last four from the Blue Knights, including a 2011 semifinal matchup, but haven’t won at Geneseo since April 1, 2000.

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