Binghamton edges Quinnipiac in home opener 7-6

BINGHAMTON, N.Y.--The Bearcats (2-3, 1-1 AE) scored the game-winning goal with 9:19 left in the fourth quarter, and hung on to defeat the Quinnipiac Bobcats (1-6, 0-1 AE) 7-6 in a conference matchup Friday night at Binghamton Alumni Stadium. The win marked the first-ever America East victory for the Bearcats.

"We hustled for 60 minutes, and that was a real positive for us," head coach Ed Stephenson said. "We displayed a concerted effort, and I was encouraged to see us finish off plays we had struggled with in our previous games. It gave me the feeling that we are ready to break out offensively. We saw a matchup of the league's two youngest teams tonight, and I think we saw the future of the league."

Entering the fourth quarter, Binghamton trailed 6-5 and was forced to play the first three minutes of the quarter a man down due to an illegal stick violation. The Bobcats, however, were unable to find the net while playing a man up, and Binghamton knotted the score at 6-6 just 45 seconds after the penalty expired. Freshman attacker Phil Cavallo (Cedarhurst, N.Y./Lawrence) took a feed from fellow attackman Brian Chaapel (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan Academy) and found the net for his team-high 10th goal of the season. Just under two minutes later, freshman Mike Tran (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored the game-winner on a pass from midfielder Brian Morgan (Littleton, Col./Heritage). It was the first goal of Tran's collegiate career.

Quinnipiac held a 42-36 shot advantage for the game, tallied 33 ground balls to Binghamton's 28, and was successful on 26 of 32 clears. The Bobcats struck first in the game, opening the scoring 2:51 into the first quarter when senior attacker John Giordano (New City, N.Y./Clarkstown South) fed junior attacker Andy Pelletier (South Windsor, Conn.) for the first of Pelletier's three goals. Quinnipiac then added a pair of goals in the second quarter, and led 3-1 until Binghamton drew to within 3-2 on a goal with just 23 seconds left in the half.

Cavallo wound up with two goals in the game, and remains the only Bearcat to have scored in every game this season. His string of five games with at least one goal is a school record. Chaapel tallied two goals and two assists in the game, while Tran and Morgan each had one goal and one assist. Freshman midfielder Aaron LaFlair (Watertown, N.Y./General Brown) added the other Binghamton goal. The Bearcats other assists came from freshman midfielder Matt DeCirce (Binghamton, N.Y.), freshman defender Sean Meluney (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen) and freshman midfielder Brian Thomas (Ithaca, N.Y.).

Pelletier led the Bobcats with three goals, with a trio of freshmen accounting for the rest of the tallies. Josh Murray (Hamden, Conn./Cheshire), Mike Stottler (Wantagh, N.Y.) and Eric Trama (Lynbrook, N.Y.) each scored goals for Quinnipiac. Murray added two assists and Trama one. Chip Schmidt (West Islip, N.Y.) also added an assist.

Freshman goalie Kevin McKeown (Brewster, N.Y.) played the entire game in goal for the Bearcats, and saved a season-high 17 shots. T.J. Barnett (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and Joe Prota (Cheshire, Conn.) combined for 15 saves for Quinnipiac.

"Kevin McKeown played an outstanding game tonight," Stephenson said. Whenever we had a breakdown defensively, he was there to make a big save. He let in a goal early on, but like all good goalies, he didn't let it affect him and did what he had to do to have a great game."

The Bearcats will return to action against Albany next Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be played on campus at Binghamton's East Gym Complex.

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