February 22nd, 2014

Defense keys Knights LAX win at Jacksonville

John Spugnardi

Bellarmine University S.I.D.

Defense keys Knights LAX win at Jacksonville
Bellarmine defenseman Sean Joyce - one of the keys to the Knights' 8-4 win over Jacksonville / file photo by John Sommers II

After a scoreless first quarter, the Bellarmine Knights broke through for five second quarter goals and went on to post an 8-4 victory at Jacksonville University.

For the second straight game, freshman Tucker Ciessau posted four goals to lead the Knights attack, and goalie Will Haas allowed just the four goals while picking up 11 saves.

"Any time you hold a team to four goals, you should get the win," said Bellarmine Coach Kevin Burns.  "I thought our defense played really well, and Haas was out of his mind in the cage," Burns added, pointing out that Haas' save percentage was better than 70 percent for the second straight game.

"The game ball went to the entire defensive unit," Burns said. "Individually I thought Sean Joyce and Colin Hart both won their matchups, and our defense helped generate scoring.  Bobby Schmitt and Taylor Stuart are defensive middies and they picked up three assists today.”

Both defenses ruled the first quarter as neither team found the back of the net until Bellarmine's Ben Charpentier finally broke through for an unassisted goal 3:45 into the second quarter.  The Knights, which did not commit a turnover in the pivotal second period, got another score at the 7:06 mark as Ryan Scinta converted his first goal of the season.

Duncan Clancy scored the Dolphins first goal just 28 seconds after Scinta's goal.  However, the Bellarmine "D" stiffened for the remainder of the half while the offense added three more goals for a 5-1 halftime lead as Ciessau netted his first two goals of the game and fellow freshman Austin Shanks registered his fourth goal of the young season.

After the break, the host Dolphins roared back with three unanswered goals to creep within a goal at 5-4 with two minutes remaining in the third period.  Bellarmine responded with a goal just 10 seconds later as Chad Mitchell converted a pass from Daniel Zamora, and the Knights went into the final quarter with a 6-4 advantage.

As the Bellarmine defense pitched a shutout in the final period, Ciessau tacked on two more goals as Bellarmine improved to 2-0 on the season with the 8-4 victory.

Jacksonville, which was the preseason pick to win the Atlantic Sun, has opened 0-3 with losses to No. 3 Duke and No. 5 Notre Dame in addition to today's defeat.

Statistically, the Dolphins enjoyed several advantages including outshooting the Knights 36-25 and winning 11 of 16 faceoffs.  The Knights countered by getting off five more shots on goal (20-15) and winning the turnover battle 18-14.

Bellarmine returns home for its next game which is against Furman at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 1. 


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