NEW LONDON, Conn.--Bobby Bleistein (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) made 21 saves in a magnificent performance between the pipes to lead the 19th ranked Connecticut College men's lacrosse team to a 9-8 NESCAC victory against an improving Bates College squad on Freeman Field at Tempel Green Saturday afternoon.
The Camels improve their record to 10-3 with a 7-2 mark in conference play while the Bobcats fall to 6-6 with a 4-5 record in league action.
Chad Sawyer (Northfield, Ill.) had three goals and two assists for the Camels. Andrew Freedman (Sudbury, Mass.) recorded a hat-trick with three goals scored. Tyler Corcoran (Simsbury, Conn.) and Kevin Dachille (Garden City, N.Y.) chipped in with single tallies for the home side.
Jack Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) scored three goals with one assist to lead the Bobcats. Jack Strain (Montclair, N.J.) and Dan Hines (Manchester, Mass.) both finished with a goal and an assist in the setback for Bates.
Sophomore specialist Mac Jackson (Hood River, Ore.) had a goal and four ground balls and was 9-for-18 on face-offs for the visitors.
Junior net-minder Charlie Kazarian (Providence, R.I.) finished with 11 saves in the contest.
This was one of those classic Bates-Connecticut College battles that you pretty much knew would be decided in the closing moments and it proved once again that this is one of the better rivalries that has developed in recent lacrosse history.
The Camels vaulted out to a 2-0 lead in the opening quarter when Sawyer and Freedman scored 46 seconds apart.
But the Bobcats got one back when Allard unloaded from the right side with 2:42 remaining and it was a 2-1 Camel lead after one. Freedman made it a 3-1 game with his 31st scored of the season with Sawyer assisting with 12:20 remaining in the half. But Jack Allen (Westfield, N.J.) assisted Allard on the next two goals and the two teams were even at three as they headed for the intermission.
The Camels were able to out-scored Bates 4-2 in the third quarter. The hosts cashed in on an extra man situation with 8:07 left when Sawyer connected with Freedman for his third goal of the day. However, on the ensuing face-off, Jackson won the battle in the trenches and then sprinted to the cage for an unassisted marker to make it a 5-5 game.
But the Camels answered when Dachille found the back of the net with 2:10 remaining. Then with 19 seconds left, a Bleistein save and outlet pass to Jack Griffin (Seaford, N.Y.) caught the visitors in an unsettled situation. Griffin connected with Sawyer who made a wraparound move for the goal to push the Camel lead to 7-5 after three quarters of action.
JR Hartgers (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) assisted Sawyer on his third goal of the day 1:18 into the fourth and the Camels appeared to be in control with an 8-5 edge.
But Bates just would not go away and a goal from Connor Cerniglia (Annapolis, Md.) with 8:52 remaining forced the fourth and final tie of the game at eight. Allard was the facilitator on the equalizer, making the key connection from behind the cage.
Kazarian made a clutch stop on Dachille to keep the game tied for Bates with 7:10 remaining. Then Bleistein stoned Allard with a stop at the 6:23 mark.
However, the Camels were still not out of the woods yet. Bates was awarded an extra man opportunity for 1:30 after the Camels were assessed with two infractions.
Bates pressured the Camel zone and with 1:12 left, Bleistein made a point-blank stop on Allard to preserve the one-goal lead.
Bates had one last possession but Jeff Smith (Simsbury, Conn.) was able to step into the passing lane for the Camels to put the game away.
Bates out-shot the Camels 38-to-27 in the contest. The Camels held a 28-to-26 edge in ground balls.