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Adam Marfice Scores Game-Winning Goal in OT to Lift Griffins Over Utah, 16-15

Wesminster Jake Arthur
c/o ShootingStar Photography

The Westminster Griffins and Utah Utes, separated by less than 2 miles, squared off at Judge Memorial on Saturday in a classic game that lived up to it’s billing. After a see-saw affair, the Griffins were able to get a game-winning goal 41 seconds into overtime, winning 16-15.
“This game lived up to the hype that came into this game,” said Utah Head Coach Rick Kladis. “Our guys know each other and the close proximity helps this be a natural rivalry. You can throw out records and who looks better on any given year in a rivalry game because you know it’s going to be a battle, and I think that happened tonight.”
As the nightcap on an excellent day of lacrosse statewide, Westminster came into the game the favorite on paper, but the Utes were ready for the challenge.
The Griffins were able to get the scoring started early and from that point on, spectators could tell this was going to be a shootout. Just 30 seconds into the game, Westminster Attackman Adam Marfice capitalized to give the Griffins and early advantage. Utah Attackman David Bicker answered on the Utes next possession on a great dodge from X to tie the game. Westminster Midfielder Jake Arthur scored his first of the night 2 minutes later on an alley dodge. Utah went on a small two goal run to get their first lead of the game at the 9:03 mark. Each team would score two more goals to bring the score to 5-4 for Utah early in the second quarter. Westminster went on a three goal run over a 5 minute span to make the score 7-5 for Westminster. Just as the Utes were losing momentum, Bicker again scored from X, giving the Utes a crucial goal. Westminster Midfielders Kevin Gee and Elias Fairman each had a goal late in the half to give the Griffins a 9-6 lead at halftime.

Wesminster Jake Arthur
c/o ShootingStar Photography
Utah outplayed Westminster in the third quarter by scoring 6 goals  while only allowing 3 to tie the game at 12 after the third quarter. Utah took an early lead in the fourth quarter but Westminster answered back with a two goal run to regain the lead. Both teams continued to battle hard for groundballs and big defensive stops. Bodies began to fly as the game became more physical. Utah tied the game with 4:35 left in the game when Nash Cantrell was able to back his defender in like a low post basketball player then quickly spun and scored. Utah Attackman Pat Griffin, in his first game back since an injury in mid-March, was able to give the Utes the lead with 2:06 remaining when he beat his man off a dodge from the top of the box, ran towards the goal, shot and scored.
With 24 seconds left, Utah was penalized for a cross-check, giving the Griffins a perfect opportunity to tie the game. The Griffins were able to get off a shot but it was saved by Utah Goalie Jeff Nielsen. The Utes tried to clear but were unable to, giving the ball back to Westminster. Midfielder Collin Madsen took the ball behind the cage and was able to find Attackmen Kyle Postler at the top of the box who took a step in and ripped the ball into the top shelf to tie the game with 5 seconds left.
In overtime, the Griffins won the face-off, worked the ball around in their set until Madsen found Marfice who was able to take a time and room shot from the wing, shooting low past Nielsen for the win.
The Griffins attack was well balanced with Postler, Marfice, Gee and Arthur getting 3 goals each. Utah was led by Mac Schwoebel who had 4 goals. Bicker finished with 3 goals and an assist. Westminster Goalie Erik Gronseth had 9 saves in the first half while Chris Burckle finished with 7 saves in the second half. Nielsen had 12 saves for Utah. Westminster won 16 of 26 face-offs.
Westminster finished the season 11-4 and will look to defend their RMLC D-II Championship on May 4 & 5. Utah will travel to Provo to play BYU on Saturday and finish their season on Sunday against Rhode Island.

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