Air Force Defeats Men's Lacrosse, 14-8, In GWLL Opener

HAMDEN, Conn. – Jack Oppenheimer scored twice and added an assist and Kevin Benzing (Severna Park, Md.) made 14 saves, but the Quinnipiac University men's lacrosse team was defeated by Air Force, 14-8, Saturday afternoon in the Bobcats' home and Great Western Lacrosse League opener. With the loss, the Bobcats fall to 1-4 (0-1 GWLL), while the Falcons improve to 3-3 (1-0 GWLL).

Gary Messina (West Islip, N.Y.), Kevin Kelly (Redding, Conn.), Garett Kerr (Inglewood, Ontario), Alex DeAlmeida (Pt. Pleasant, N.J.), Mike Gast (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Mitch Cooper (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) each added a goal for the Bobcats. Kelly and Messina contributed two assists apiece, while Kerr had one.

K.J. Landgraf paced the Falcons with four goals, while Ridge Flick had three and Bryan Gilbreath added two. Flick also assisted on two goals, while Landgraf added a helper to his line.

Seeing his first action in net this season, Dan Gnazzo earned the win for the Falcons, stopping seven shots and allowing seven goals. Benzing stopped 14 shots and allowed 14 goals in taking the loss.

Neither team could create more than a one-goal lead in the first half. After Griffin Nevitt got things started for the Falcons just over two minutes into the first quarter, Kerr answered at the 11:22 mark. Kelly assisted DeAlmeida less than a minute later as the Bobcats took their first lead of the day, 2-1.

Jeff Pecora tied the game for the Falcons at the 4:49 mark of the first quarter, while Landgraf found the back of the net off a feed from Flick 46 seconds later as Air Force retook the lead, 3-2. Cooper knotted the score once again at the 2:38 mark and Messina found Kelly for a goal with 17 second left in the first as the Bobcats took their final lead of the game, 4-3.

Flick scored twice at the 13:14 and 8:20 marks of the second quarter to give Air Force a 5-4 lead. Oppenheimer then tied the game off a Messina assist with just less than two minutes to play in the half. The scored remained tied at five heading into halftime.

But the Falcons opened the second half with six unanswered goals to take an 11-5 lead. The lead only grew to seven, 14-7, despite consecutive fourth-quarter goals from Gast and Messina. Oppenheimer closed the scoring with 51 seconds left off a Kerr assist.

The Bobcats return to action Wednesday night, when they travel to Providence. The opening face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Friar Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.