MARCY, N.Y. – Forty-eight hours after picking up their first win of the season, the SUNYIT Wildcats (2-9, 1-1 NEAC) made it a streak with a 9-5 victory over the visiting Cazenovia Wildcats (3-5, 1-2 NEAC). The Wildcats played a near-flawless game, taking a 6-0 lead in the first half and holding serve in the second half for the win.
While the Wildcats held advantages in nearly every statistical category, the game hinged on what happened in the center circle, as the Wildcats won a whopping 14 of 17 face offs thanks to midfielder Tyler Serva (Chenango Forks, N.Y. / Chenango Forks). There is no nicer way to say it – Serva toyed with the opposition at times, winning all four face offs in the third period and never losing more than one face off in any period.
A key moment in the game came at the end of the first half. Up 4-0 nothing, SUNYIT refused to rest on their laurels late in the half, and took advantage of a man-up opportunity with a great long goal by Kevin Gardrvits (Glen Cove, N.Y. / Glen Cove).
After a key face off victory by Serva, the Wildcats then got the ball to deadeye d-pole Brett Gifford (Cazenovia, N.Y. / Cazenovia), who split the defense and threw it in on one bounce with just 5 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
The two late goals completely changed the complexion of the game heading into the locker room.
Cazenovia would rally somewhat in the second half, netting 4 goals in the final quarter and showing some ability to disrupt the SUNYIT attack, but Serva's continued dominance at center field limited possessions for Cazenovia, giving SUNYIT the win at a comfortable 9-5 final score.
Serva finished the game with a run-on sentence for a stat line: 14 of 17 face offs won, 2 goals, 3 assists, and 15 groundballs, leading the team in all of those categories except goals. That honor belonged to Gardrvits, who had a hat-trick on the day to tie Cazenovia attackman Kyle Kingsley for the game-high.
The Wildcat defense, of course, also came up big as keeper Jeffrey Melnik (Yonkers, N.Y. / Stepinac) had another monster game, making 13 saves, 8 of which came in the second half as Cazenovia out shot the Wildcats 22 to 15. Melnik's play most certainly helped preserve the lead in the second half.
SUNYIT will try to keep the momentum going as they head to Medaille College for another NEAC game. The Wildcats are slated to play this Saturday, April 6th, at 1:00 pm.