NCAA First Round: Ben Smith’s Late-Game Heroics Push Penn Past Richmond in Overtime

(Photo Courtesy of Penn Athletics)

The Penn Quakers will live to see another day as, in typical Penn fashion, they defeated the Richmond Spiders 11-10 in overtime to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals.

On a wet Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia, it was freshman Ben Smith who emerged as the hero for the Quakers. Leading the way with a career-high five goals, Smith received the feed from Sam Handley on the doorstep and put one past Zach Vigue to force overtime with 29 seconds left in regulation.

In the overtime period, Handley initiated from up top and went down the right side before throwing a skip pass to Gabe Furey, who found Smith wide-open on the doorstep for the game-winner.

Those two final sequences capped off what had been a low-scoring, back and fourth battle, and officially put to bed a strong late-game effort from Richmond. Luke Frankeny put home a massive rip from up top off a Ryan Lanchbury feed on a man-up sequence with 7:17 remaining in regulation. Minutes later, Lanchbury assisted Ryan Dunn on a man-up score to pull Richmond ahead 10-19 with 3:55 remaining and seemingly gave the Spiders all the energy with just minutes remaining.

What put Penn in the position to survive and advance in the fashion they did was a pair of hustle plays and a few defensive stops. While Jared Chenoy won the ensuring faceoff after Dunn’s score, Patrick Burknishaw stopped the only shot the Spiders got on that next possession, and after regaining possession on the rebound, Ethan Till forced a turnover on Lance Madonna to give Penn the ball back.

On the other end, Zach Vigue denied a Gabe Furey shot to seemingly give the Spiders another chance to try and run the clock out. However, Richmond failed to clear the ball as Ben Bedard came up huge in the ride with a caused turnover on John Armistead to set up the Penn possession that ended seconds later with Smith’s overtime-forcing score.

Jamie Zusi (17-for-25) won the opening faceoff of the overtime period and was able to come out of the scrum with the ground ball and hold on just long enough for Mike Murphy to call a timeout, from which the Quakers’ game-winning possession came out of.

Penn’s game-winner marked the fourth time the lead had changed in the second half. Similarly, their overtime-forcing score marked the fourth tie in the final two frames.

A ferocious ending to the first quarter saw the Quakers go from trailing 2-0 to leading 5-2 as they ended that opening frame with five consecutive scores. Smith assisted on the first of that run before scoring two of his own, including one that came on an open net after he intercepted a Vigue pass on the clear.

Despite a 1-for-7 mark at the faceoff dot in the frame, Richmond outscored Penn 4-2 in the second quarter to make it a one-goal game at the break. A pair of Dalton Young (3G) scores had tied it up at 6-6 late in the second quarter, but the Quakers were able to stay ahead by one after Smith put home a score off a Dylan Gergar feed with just over a minute left in the second quarter.

A pair of poles, Jake Saunders and Braden Mcclure, connected on a transition sequence to tie it at 7-7 before Lance Madonna found Ryan Dunn on the doorstep to give Richmond their first lead, 8-7, since the first quarter with 8:57 to go in the frame.

Sam Handley struck back with an absolute rocket of a shot from up top late in the second quarter to give himself a hat trick and knot things all up at 8-8 heading into the fourth quarter.

From Dunn’s score to put Richmond ahead through the overtime frame, the two sides combined for four failed clears and 10 caused turnovers as both of these teams gave through the kitchen sink at each other through those final 20-plus minutes.

Patrick Burkinshaw made 15 saves to anchor the Penn defense. LSM Ethan Till caused three turnovers and grabbed five ground balls. Peter Blake (3CT) also made a big impact.

Zach Vigue made 11 saves for Richmond.

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