DOVER, Del. - Wesley led 10-5 midway through the fourth period, but Whittier came storming back and had a chance to tie the game as time expired as the Wolverines held on to win 11-10.
In addition to a dramatic finish, the game also featured a Wesley record as goalkeeper Jim McCleaft (Media, Pa./Sun Valley) set Wesley's record with his first save of the game just 1:35 into the contest. The senior stopped 11 more Whittier shots to finish the game with 557 career saves.
The Poets (5-6) scored five times in the final 7:07 after only scoring four goals in the opening 62:53. The Wolverines (8-3) scored only once in that time, but it proved to be the game winner when Nick Pisacano (King's Park, N.Y./King's Park) hit Joe Trezza (King's Park, N.Y./King's Park) with 3:28 to go in the fourth quarter for an 11-8 lead.
Two minutes later, however, Sam Russell cut the lead to two. The Poets won the ensuing face off, but turned the ball over Wesley. The Wolverines had a chance to run out the clock, but a flip shot went into the side of the net and Whittier regained possession. The Poets cleared the ball and Anthony Lackey found an open Daniel McQuade for his fourth goal of the contest with just 22 seconds to play.
Whittier won the face off and had one last chance to tie the game, but Russell's shot with two seconds remaining sailed wide.
Wesley had led from the outset of the contest, as Brad Bivins (Dover, Del./Caesar Rodney) had his hand in a pair of first quarter goals that put the Wolverines ahead 2-0. The junior scored unassisted with 14:06 to go in the first, then set up Pisacano for his only goal of the game.
Justin Thompson (Pasadena, Md./North East) also scored twice in the period as Wesley took a 4-2 lead after one quarter of play. After Dan Skeels (Roseland, N.J./West Essex) scored with 13:40 left in the half, neither team scored again for 12 minutes until McQuade took an assist from Russell with 1:36 left in the half as the Wolverines led 5-3 at the break.
Trezza assisted on Bivins' second goal of the day with 9:42 left in the third, and after McQuade cut it to 6-4, back-to-back scores by Trezza to close the third made the score 8-4 through three periods.
A goal by Brad Smith (Glen Burnie, Md./Old Mill) stretched the lead to five with 12:48 to play and after Lackey scored for the Poets, another tally by Smith made it a 10-5 game with 8:36 remaining.
Pisacano finished with a game-high five points, including four assists. Trezza added three goals and an assist, while Smith, Bivins and Thompson each scored twice.
Kirk Waldie (Folsom, Pa./Ridley) had nine ground balls.
In addition to McQuade's four goals, Lackey added a goal and three assists. Ryan Kirkpatrick had a pair of goals for the Poets. Cape Henlopen product Corey Schab won 14-of-24 face offs and had nine ground balls.
Ben Brown made 11 saves.
With his 12 saves, McCleaft passed former Wolverine Jim Horan for the all-time lead at Wesley. Horan had 545 saves in 1994 and 1995.
The Wolverines were not flagged with a penalty in the game, while the Poets were called for five. Wesley converted just one of those into a score, but it was Trezza's game-winner in the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines close out their Capital Athletic Conference slate with a home game against St. Mary's (Md.) on Saturday, April 4 in the David Reynolds Lacrosse Festival at Wesley. Game time is set for 1:30 PM.