GRANTHAM, Pa. — Goucher was able to match Messiah goal for goal through the first two periods, but the Gophers were limited to a single goal and only four shots the entire second half and were tagged with an 11-6 setback by the Falcons this afternoon.
It was the first game of the season for both teams, although Goucher was scheduled to open at home against Washington & Jefferson four days ago. That contest, however, was postponed due to dangerous playing conditions caused by bitterly cold temperatures and winds gusting over 40 miles per hour, and has been rescheduled for March 22.
Pierce Bailey (Coral Gables, Fla./Gulliver Prep), Ruel Ellis (Austin, Texas/Westlake) and Conner Annunziato (West Chester, Pa./Bayerd Rustin) all got into the scoring act for the Gophers (0-1) in the first quarter of today's contest, but an unassisted goal by Luke Hall with 52 seconds remaining snapped a 3-3 deadlock and provided the Falcons with a one-goal advantage after 15 minutes.
An extra-man goal by Michael Morgan (Austin, Texas/Westwood) that was assisted by Annunziato 6:20 into the second quarter created a 4-4 tie. Messiah regained the lead midway through the period on an unassisted goal by Blake Knobloch, but Owen Demmerly (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) stuck an even-strength goal for Goucher with 4:29 remaining before halftime, knotting the score up at 5-5.
The Falcons (1-0) were the first to get on the scoreboard in the second half, going back in front on Knoblach's second unassisted goal of the game just 1:24 into the third quarter. Just over a minute later, they tacked on an unassisted goal by Chris Ruger, which put them ahead 7-5.
The Gophers got off only one shot in the third period, which ended with the home team leading 8-5.
Knoblach's third goal extended Messiah's advantage to 9-5 in ther fourth quarter before Morgan tallied Goucher's only goal of the second half on an extra-man opportunity with 8:32 remaining.
In addition to being outshot, 32-16, the Gophers collected only 28 ground balls, 17 fewer than their opponent.
Goucher gets to play eight of its next nine games at home and will welcome Gettysburg to Beldon Field one week from today. The opening face-off is set for 3:30 p.m.