LOUDONVILLE — It was one of those days when you pay attention to what the National Weather Service tells you the temperature “feels like.”
As in, it was 24 degrees at Hickey Field on Saturday afternoon, but it felt like a brutal 10, they said.
Likewise, the Siena men’s lacrosse team’s offense had golden opportunities to tie the game in the closing minutes, but it felt like zero, after Canisius desperately hung on for an 8-7 victory to open the season for both teams.
The Saints squandered a 2-on-1 with 1:30 left, and failed to even get a shot off after having called timeout with 20.4 seconds left, compounded by the fact that Canisius goalie Otto Bergmann came up big twice when Siena did get quality shots in the final 60-plus seconds.
In a revised MAAC schedule that didn’t afford any preseason scrimmages, this one won’t count in the standings, so the Saints are chalking it up to a missed opportunity at a “non-conference” victory and something upon which to build.
“It’s a great learning experience,” co-captain Dylan Pantalone said. “That’s a good Canisius team, and we’ve just got to keep working.
“It was awesome to finally be out against a team in a different colored jersey. Haven’t done it in a year now.”
“The first half, we struggled with some stickwork issues,” head coach Liam Gleason said. “We were getting guys open, and they weren’t catching the balls in some dangerous spots.
“In the second half, I thought we had a lot of scoring opportunities. Their goalie played well. At the end of the game, we had two great shots from one of our better players, on cage, and he [Bergmann] made the saves.”
Co-captain Jack Kiernan had three goals and two assists for Siena, and Jacob Buck scored three for the Golden Griffins. In fact, they swapped two goals each to close out the scoring, Buck giving Canisius a two two-goal leads that were answered by Kiernan, the last of which got Siena within 8-7 with 8:58 left in the game.
Siena couldn’t get another one, though, despite some late chances. The best was a quick 2-on-1 come-backer off a turnover as Canisius was trying to clear, but Pantalone couldn’t connect with Colin Gleason on the pass.
Then the Saints had 20 seconds to run a play, but after Nick Pepe, Pantalone and Kiernan passed it around on the perimeter, a Canisius double team swallowed up Kiernan well away from the cage.
“I’m honestly trying to just … think about what just happened,” Pantalone said, about the offensive mistakes in the closing moments. “I’m not really sure. We’ve got to get better every week, and we’ve got some things to work on.
“Simple stickwork. In the first half, it was pretty evident. Maybe the wind was affecting us, guys’ hands were maybe cold, but stickwork needs to get better.”
Liam Gleason had said that the competition among all five goalies was close leading into the season, and that he wouldn’t shy away from pulling the trigger if anyone in the game appeared to be struggling. Chris Yanchoris played the whole game and made seven saves.
“I thought Chris played great,” Gleason said. “They had a 10-ride man on him almost every possession, and we were able to find deep outlets multiple times, he had a lot of great saves. I thought the defense as a whole played very well. You’re holding a team to eight goals, that’s a pretty good number for us, and we’ve got to score in double digits.”
Canisius 2 1 5 0 — 8
Siena 2 1 3 1 — 7
Canisius scoring: Buck 3-0, Kritkausky 2-0, Kozack 1-1, Coughlin 1-0, Allen 1-0, Brunsch 0-1, Parucki 0-1. Siena scoring: Kiernan 3-2, Rusnak 1-0, Tessier 1-0, Habich 1-0, Casner 1-0, Pantalone 0-2, Lantieri 0-1, Van Schepen 0-1.
Goalie saves: Canisius, Bergmann 12. Siena, Yanchoris 7.