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mark America East debut in a big way
Bruce's goal 51 seconds into play sets tone for 3-1 win
Vestal, N.Y. The Binghamton University Bearcats (3-4-1) announced their arrival in the America East conference , surprising the New Hampshire Wildcats (6-3-0) with a 3-1 victory at West Gym Field.
Binghamton came out firing right away against the seventh-ranked team in the Northeast region. Just 51 seconds into the game, sophomore forward Stephen Bruce (Buckie, Scotland) headed a ball into the net off a long pass from freshman forward Kyle Antos (Endicott, N.Y.).
"We really had a terrific effort today," said BU head coach Paul Marco. "Stephen's goal in the first minute was beautiful, and that set the tone for the game."
The Bearcats controlled possession of the ball for much of the first half, and added two more goals in the final 10 minutes of the period. At the 35:58 mark, junior defender Pat Skinner (Conklin, N.Y.) headed in a corner kick from Michael Austin (Oneonta, N.Y.) to put Binghamton ahead 2-0. Then, with just 17 seconds remaining in the half, Austin took control of the ball during a scramble in front of the goal, and found the net for a 3-0 halftime advantage. Senior Stephen Rybak (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) and freshman Danilo assisted on the play.
Binghamton came out with more intensity than we did today, said New Hampshire coach Rob Thompson. After that first goal it seemed like we werent able to get on track.
Binghamton outshot the Wildcats 10-3 in the first half and held New Hampshire off the scoreboard until the 87th minute. Junior forward Nicola Chicco (Claymont, Del.) found the net off a pass from junior Ben Utter (Arlington, Mass.) with 3:22 remaining in the game to close the scoring.
Our ability to keep New Hampshire off the scoreboard until late in the game came directly from our training this week, Marco said. It is good for a coaching staff to be able to see that the things we are working on in practice will work during a game.
Junior goalkeeper Ian Wendel (Sparta, N.J.) had five saves in goal for the Bearcats, including four in the second half when New Hampshire held a 10-3 shot advantage. The Wildcats had several opportunities from close range in the final 45 minutes, but were only able to score the one goal. Mike Vignola (Hudson, N.H.) had four saves for the Wildcats.
Conference games are always tighter and more even, said Thompson. You have to want to win in order to be successful.
With the win, the Bearcats are now 2-0-1 in their last three games. BU will put its unbeaten streak on the line Thursday at 3 p.m in a non-conference road contest against Niagara. The next home game is October 12 against conference rival Vermont at 1 p.m. New Hampshire returns home next Saturday to take on Northeastern at 2 p.m.
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