Fort Collins, COLO. – The #6 Colorado Buffaloes won their second straight Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown over the #13 Colorado State Rams with a thrilling 10-9 double overtime victory at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, CO. CSU battled back from deficits of 4-1, 6-3 and 8-6 to force overtime, but with :39 left in the second extra period, Colorado’s Jace Gan found some room on the crease and finished a shot to give the Buffaloes the victory.
The game started slowly as both offenses struggled to find their rhythm. Sophomore A.J. Stewart (Fort Collins HS; Fort Collins, CO) opened the scoring when he beat his man from ‘x’ and stuck a shot with 8:21 left in the first. Colorado took control of the next six minutes, pumping home four goals, including two by Riley Kulm to make it 4-1. Then, with the first quarter winding down, junior Jake Johnson (Bridgton Academy; Lake Forest, CA) got open on a fast break and finished a shot with :01 on the clock to make it 4-2 going into the second.
The defenses buckled down in the second period and junior Brian Allen (Judge Memorial HS; Salt Lake City, UT) scored the only goal of the quarter to send the Rams into halftime trailing 4-3.
Coming out of the halftime break, Colorado stretched their lead to 6-3 in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter. But the Rams buckled down and evened the game with three straight goals by freshman George Degnon (St. Mary’s Academy; Annapolis, MD), junior Alex Creech (Rocky Mountain HS; Fort Collins, CO) and Allen’s second of the day. With 6:48 left in the third, the game was tied, but the Buffaloes again got quick goals from midfielders Mitch Erickson and Colin MacIlvennie to give the Buffs a 8-6 lead headed into the fourth.
The Rams turned to midfielder Collin Zines (San Clemente HS; San Clemente, CA) early in the fourth and the freshman answered the bell, scoring consecutive goals to tie the game with 10:19 remaining. The teams settled in again before MacIlvennie scored to make it 9-8 with 6:23 left. But the Rams weren’t done yet and Creech got a clutch man-up goal to tie the game with 2:21 left in regulation and send the game to overtime.
Neither team found the net in the first overtime period, but much of that was due to the goaltending of CSU sophomore David Salamie (Lakeridge HS; Lake Oswego, CA), who made three saves in the frame. In the second overtime, CSU had several chances at the net before Gan worked himself open on the crease, spun on the catch and finished to give CU the win and secure second place in the RMLC tournament.
Gan led all scorers with three goals while Erickson had two goals and an assist for CU. The Rams got two goals each from Zines, Allen and Creech while Degnon added an assist to give him two points on the day as well. Salamie was outstanding, finishing with 16 saves while CU’s Jensen Makarov made eight saves on the night.
Colorado State (9-7 overall; 3-2 RMLC) has completed their regular season and will face Colorado again on Friday, May 1 in the RMLC semifinals. The game will be at 4 p.m. in Boulder as the first of the two semifinal contests. Westminster, who secured the first seed in the tournament will face-off against Brigham Young in a rematch of a 16-15 win by the Griffins on Saturday afternoon.