TOWSON, Md. – Mike Sawyer scored four goals and seven Loyola University Maryland players tallied two or more points as the Greyhounds defeated host Towson, 14-9, on a Wednesday night when the wind chill hovered below 15 degrees.
Justin Ward had a four-point night with a goal and three assists, while Kevin Ryan (two goals, one assist) and Chris Layne (one goal, two assists) each had three. Sean O’Sullivan (two goals), Brian Schultz and Nikko Pontrello (one goal, one assist each) tallied two points apiece.
Loyola (2-0 overall) built a 4-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game as four players scored goals.
“Anytime Loyola and Towosn play, you are going to have a physical game, and that is exactly what it was,” Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. “I was pleased with our energy tonight, and I thought that we came out with intensity.”
Sawyer opened the scoring by taking a Ward pass from behind and depositing a goal from just outside the crease on the right side, 2:59 into the game. Davis Butts used an 11-yard sidearm shot off a Layne assist just over 2:30 later to tack on the second goal, and O’Sullivan finished a Pontrello feed from 10 yards out at 6:42.
On the Greyhounds’ first extra-man opportunity of the night, Ryan picked up a loose ball in front of the cage and scored at 5:03 to put the Greyhounds ahead, 4-0.
After a Thomas DeNapoli goal with 1:09 left in the first quarter, Loyola tallied the first two of the second period. Sawyer redodged and got past his defender to score at 13:32, and Ryan recorded the first two-goal game of his career with another extra-man tally on a cut down the middle, this off a Schultz assist, at 9:39.
Towson (0-3), however, scored the next three goals, and Greg Cuccinello’s goal with 6:41 to play before halftime closed the Tigers’ deficit to 6-4.
The Greyhounds responded with a pair of goals, the first coming from Sawyer off a Ward assist. Sawyer shot from an extremely tight angle on the left side after Ward shot a pass from behind. O’Sullivan then notched his second of the game with 1:14 to go before halftime to push Loyola’s lead to 8-4 at the break.
Loyola scored the first two of the second half as Patrick Fanshaw dodged from right-to-left from the top middle and scored at 12:13, and Sawyer ducked out from in front of the crease, caught a Ryan pass and scored with 8:47 on the clock. His fourth of the game gave the Greyhounds a six-goal lead, 10-4.
Towson rallied again as Cuccinello and Andrew Hodgson wrapped a pair of goals around a Pontrello score, and then Hodgson and DeNapoli scored to open the fourth quarter.
DeNapoli’s shot from nine yards out on the left side with 9:40 remaining in regulation closed the gap to 11-8.
Loyola earned an extra-man opportunity, however, on a Towson illegal body check, and Ward fed a cross-crease pass to Schultz on the right doorstep, and Schultz’s goal pushed the lead back to four.
Towson again closed it to three on DeNapoli’s fourth of the game at 4:22, but two Loyola goals with an empty net, one by Ward on a man-up and the other by Layne, provided the final five-goal difference. After winning just 7-of-21 faceoffs in the season opener at the University of Delaware, Blake Burkhart made his season debut at the `X’ and won 17-of-28. He also led all players with eight ground balls.
Scott Ratliff and Joe Fletcher each had four ground balls, and all but one Loyola starter had at least one off the ground. Loyola picked up a total of 39 to Towson’s 24.
Jack Runkel made 10 saves in goal for Loyola.
The Greyhounds play their home opener on Saturday, February 23, at 1:30 p.m. against the University of Maryland in a rematch of the 2012 NCAA Championship Game that Loyola won, 9-3. The game will be broadcast live nationally on NBC Sports Network.