FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
By William Howard, SFU Lacrosse Media Relations
Simon Fraser University Men’s Lacrosse
Event: Men’s Lacrosse (MCLA Division I)
Site: University of Montana – Washington-Grizzly Stadium (Missoula, MT)
Score: #23 Simon Fraser University 20, University of Montana 15
Record: SFU (8-6, 3-0 PNCLL North), UM (2-12, 0-4 PNCLL North)
Next SFU Game: Saturday, May 5, 2012, 9:00pm PDT – PNCLL Semi-Final vs. Oregon State University – Tacoma, WA (Curtis High School)
MISSOULA, MT (April 28, 2012) – No. 23 Simon Fraser rode a 19-11 lead late in the fourth quarter to down Montana by a final score of 20-15 to claim their fifth straight regular season divisional title and enter next weekend’s Final Four Conference Tournament as the top seed from the PNCLL North. Eight different Clan player registered multi-point games, led by the attack trio of Colton Dow (Coquitlam, BC / Heritage Woods Secondary) – 2g, 4a, Calvin Craig (Coquitlam, BC / Gleneagle Secondary) – 5g and Iain Vickars (Burnaby, BC / Burnaby South Secondary) – 4g, 1a who continues to have a breakout freshman year over the back half of the season with 23 points (18g, 5a) over his last five games. Fraser goaltender Darren Zwack continued a strong sophomore campaign with 17 saves, including several from point blank, to mark the tenth time this season that he has recorded double-digit saves in the 12 games that he has started.
Despite Montana getting on the board first, Zwack would make some of his biggest stops early in the contest as he robbed Griz shooters on multiple occasions over the opening quarter to allow SFU to find their footing and lead 4-3 after 15:00 minutes. Junior Henry Bishop (Portland, OR / Chester HS) put Montana up 1-0, followed by Clan freshman midfielder Casey Foster (Edmonton, AB / St. Francis Xavier HS) tying the score at 1-1, before Griz attackman Patrick Shelso (Memphis, TN / St. Benedict at Auburndale) gave Montana their second lead of the young contest at 2-1. From there Simon Fraser would begin to show their fire power as freshman attack Ward Spencer (Saskatoon, SK / Evan Hardy Collegiate) assisted on back-to-back goals by Calvin Craig, followed by Dow assisting on a goal by junior midfielder Eric Ransom (Sherwood Park, AB / Bev Facey HS) to give the Clan their first lead and a two-goal advantage at 4-2. Montana senior midfielder Kent Davis (Denver, CO / Regis HS) would close out the first quarter scoring and put the Griz down by one heading into the second frame.
Fraser would continue to hold the momentum to start the second quarter as another 3-0 run on goals by Vickars, Craig (assist Dow) and Ransom (assist Vickars) extended the Clan lead to four at 7-3. Montana senior midfielder Max Reuter (Portland, OR / Wilson HS) answered back for the Griz at 7-4, with the two teams playing even the rest of the half as three goals aside would see SFU maintain a three-goal advantage on tallies by Vickars, sophomore Frank Davalos (Moose Jaw, SK / Albert E. Peacock Collegiate) and freshman Sam Clare (Ladner, BC / Vancouver College) to sit up 10-7 at the break.
Following a relatively sloppy first half, Simon Fraser would have their best frame in the third quarter, responding to a hat trick marker by Kent Davis out of the intermission to go on a 5-1 tear the rest of the period. Dow started the SFU run (assisted by Foster), before finding Craig for his fourth of the game at 12-8. Sophomore midfielder Brendan Farrell (Milton, ON / St. Michael’s College School) extended the Clan lead to five at 13-8, before Montana midfielder Andrew Wenzl (Bellevue, WA / Sammamish HS) briefly stalled the Clan onslaught at 13-9. Dow would then finish what he started, scoring his second of the game, shorthanded from Ransom, and then connecting with Davalos for his second to give Fraser a commanding lead of 15-9 down the stretch.
Vickars extended the Clan lead to seven to start the fourth quarter until penalties began to hamper the SFU momentum. Capitalizing with the man-advantage, Bishop scored on a Griz man-up, followed by a shorthanded marker from Sam Clare and another man-up goal by Andrew Wenzl to reset the score to 17-11. Clan midfielder Casey Foster continued to have one of the stronger games of his freshman season, scoring his second of the game and then assisting on Calvin Craig’s fifth to put SFU up 19-11 and open the door for junior goaltender Kyle Middleton (Nanaimo, BC / Woodlands Secondary) to take over the Clan net with 6:44 left to play. Despite the goaltender change, Montana refused to roll over as a goal by Shelso and consecutive markers by Bishop, his fifth and sixth of a game-high 6 goals, capped off a late 3-0 Griz run to decrease the deficit to five. Looking to seal the deal, Ransom assisted on a goal by Vickars to make it 20-14 before Reuter scored his second of the game to bring Montana back to within five and end the game with a final score of 20-15.
The loss drops the Griz to 2-12 on the year and ends their season at the bottom of the PNCLL North with a divisional record of 0-4, while the win sees Simon Fraser finish at the top of the PNCLL North for the second consecutive year following the conference realignment, marking the Clan’s fifth straight regular season divisional title dating back to 2008. SFU will now look to extend their season as they move on to face the PNCLL South’s No. 2 seed Oregon State in the Final Four Conference Tournament. This will be a highly anticipated rematch between the two squads following the Beavers 13-6 upset of the Clan the last time the two teams met in February. Currently ranked No. 23 in the Nike Inside Lacrosse Top 25 Coaches Poll, Simon Fraser will almost certainly have to win the Conference Tournament in order to advance to the MCLA National Championships May 14-19 in Greenville, South Carolina.
SIMON FRASER (8-6) 4-6-5-5/20
MONTANA (2-12) 3-4-2-6/15
GOALS: SFU: Craig-5, Vickars-4, Clare-2, Davalos-2, Dow-2, Foster-2, Ransom-2, Farrell. UM (Unofficial): Bishop-6, Davis-3, Reuter-2, Shelso-2, Wenzl-2.
ASSISTS: SFU: Dow-4, Foster-2, Ransom-2, Spencer-2, Vickars. UM: Whyel.
– Simon Fraser dressed a roster of 22 with all players, including both goaltenders, registering minutes. Junior defenders Sam Biagioni (Surrey, BC / Fraser Height Secondary) and Mitch Frank (Burnaby, BC / St. Thomas More Collegiate), and sophomores: attack Cory Koesdibyo (Nanaimo, BC / Dover Bay Secondary) and midfielder Max Weselowski (Maple Ridge, BC / Meadowridge School) did not dress.
– Sophomore goaltender Darren Zwack made his 11th consecutive start and 12th start of the season, making 17 saves with 11 goals against for a .607 save percentage over the opening 53:16. Junior Kyle Middleton played the final 6:44 making 3 saves, with 4 goals against for a save percentage of .429.
– Freshman midfielder Casey Foster registered a new career high for points (4) goals (2) and assists (2) in a game.
– SFU picked up 57 ground balls. Midfielder Sam Clare led the Clan with 10, while freshmen Mark Hilker (Bowmanville, ON / Clarington Central Secondary) and Bayne Bosquet (Coldstream, BC / Kalamalka Secondary) picked up 8 and 6 respectively from the Clan’s defensive end.
– Despite the Clan once again maintaining a comfortable lead for the majority of the game, they continued to trail their opponent at the face-off x with Montana holding a slight advantage by winning 53% of the draws. Clare continued to carry the majority of the workload going 13 of 25 (52%), while fellow freshmen James Irwin (Burnaby, BC / Burnaby South Secondary) finished 3 of 9 (33%) in relief.
SFU Head Coach Brent Hoskins
On Montana: “Montana has some good players on the offensive side of the ball who can make you pay given the opportunity. Tonight’s game had a lot of emotion, especially in front of a boisterous home crowd inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium for the venue’s first ever night game, so we give the Griz full credit for competing hard right until the final whistle.”
On Simon Fraser: “Since the end of March, we have identified every game on our schedule as a must win. While you strive to win each of those games with a high level of execution, there are always going to be games where you have to roll up your sleeves and gut it out. Tonight was a combination of both for us and while we would have liked to have been better defensively and showed more discipline at times, it was still a win and we feel confident heading into playoffs on a five-game winning streak and having won seven of our last eight with the opportunity now ahead of us to avenge some losses from earlier on our schedule.”
ABOUT SIMON FRASER MEN’S LACROSSE
Simon Fraser University Men’s Lacrosse is competing in its seventeenth season in 2012 and is a Division I member of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA). The Clan have captured a record eight PNCLL Conference Titles (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2008 and 2009) and rank sixth all-time with ten MCLA National Championship tournament appearances, placing 2nd in 1999 and playing in the 2010 MCLA Semi-Finals after reaching the Quarterfinals in 2008 and 2009. The Clan proudly wear equipment and apparel by Harrow Sports and Cascade helmets.