The Slippery Rock bench and its fans erupted as freshman Justin Minda scored his first collegiate goal Wednesday night, giving SRU the 2-1 victory over #25 Notre Dame College.
Minda’s goal came off a pass from junior Matt Sangermano, and giving SRU the upset, pushing them to 6-3 on the season. Notre Dame fell to 6-3 as well.
Despite Notre Dame holding the advantage in all offensive categories, SRU found a way to win behind solid goaltending from Steven Rerick, stingy defense and timely scoring.
“Some games you get a get out of jail free card,” SRU coach Andy Hoggarth said. “Full credit goes to the boys. Work rate and work ethic get you wins. We were the underdog tonight, and these boys love to be the underdog.”
Based on the stats, Notre Dame should have won the game easily, but due to SRU’s grit and hard work, they did not.
Notre Dame held the advantage in shots (22-8), shots on goal (10-4), corners (9-2), and spent a majority of its time on The Rock’s side of the field.
A gritty defense and great goaltending by junior Steven Rerick prevented a barrage of Notre Dame shots from going into the net.
The SRU attackers rewarded that great back end play with some timely goals.
The first goal came at a critical moment at the end of the first half when senior Mike Ilodigwe scored on a pass from freshman George Oakley at the 43:17 mark in the first half. This gave SRU a huge momentum boost, scoring with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
That goal was Ilodigwe’s third of the season, and Oakley’s first assist of his collegiate career.
The game was more even in the second half in terms of possession. Both teams got opportunities on the opponenets side of the field, but it was Notre Dame breaking through on their sixth shot in the second half, tying the game.
Just when the game appeared to be going into overtime, Minda scored his goal at the 82:36 mark in the second half.
Notre Dame sent some more shots Rerick’s way in the last seven and a half minutes, but as he did all night he was able to turn them away. He was given a little bit of help from the goalpost, which helped him throughout the night, but overall he was still able to come away with nine saves. Rerick’s nine saves are now a career high.
“The keys to the win were heart, hard work and the boys doing the jobs they are asked to do,” Hoggarth said. “We got a little bit of luck, but luck happens when you prepare and work hard.”
SRU looks to make it three straight wins as it hosts Bloomsburg at 1 p.m. Saturday at James Egli Field.
“This win means nothing without a win against Bloomsburg Saturday,” Hoggarth said. “Hopefully we use this win as a springboard.”