After losing a tough game the night before, it was evident from the drop of the puck that Navy had a chip on its shoulder, skating as if they had something to prove.
The Mids had another high energy start to the game but were unable to capitalize on their early efforts. Senior Steven Csutoros had several early opportunites along with classmate and team captain Sam Carlson. Although Navy outshot Lehigh 7-1 in early play, a fluke goal on a dump in by Brett DePace put Lehigh up 1-0. Despite the setback, Navy continued to play strong defensive hockey, killing off penalties with a sustained fervor. With the help of a few big saves in close by Navy net-minder Jamison Marshall, the Mids kept the game close and the momentum slowly began to shift back to Navy. A Lehigh penalty midway through the period created a spark but the power play unit couldn't convert for a goal. Lehigh goalie, Chris Langstaff, kept the lead for his team, making several big saves as Navy continued to dominate play in the offensive zone. At 17:58 of the first period Navy sophomore Rob Van Winter put an end to Lehigh’s shut out. The goal scoring play started with senior Jon Wheeler making a quick dish from the left point to freshman defenseman Aaron Fleming who whistled a slap shot from the point into a cluster of Navy forwards in front of the net. Van Winter picked up the rebound and evened the game at one.
With a Navy penalty carrying over from the first period, the Mids found themselves shorthanded as the second period started. As time ran out on the penalty, Lehigh forward Ben Sargent snuck one past Navy on a screen to regain a one goal lead. Navy responded quickly and fiercely as Sophomore Matt Lutch sparked the Mids with some aggressive checking in the corner. The hard work paid off for the Mids and at 8:09 in the 2nd period freshman Tom Krysil fought off a defender and went 5-hole on the Lehigh goaltender for his first goal as a Midshipman. Marshall kept the score tied at two with some key saves on a scrum in front of the net. After a herculean effort by Navy defenseman Jon Wheeler to fend off a Lehigh attack, Navy began to sustain constant pressure in the offensive zone. At 19:52, with the clock winding down in the 2nd, Van Winter put on a burst of speed down the right side and sniped a top shelf goal from the top of the circle. For Van Winter, it was was his second consecutive night with two goals.
Navy continued dominating the play to start the 3rd period. The early minutes of the period turned into a goaltending duel as Marshall stood on his head to keep the lead in tact. Then at 6:42 in the period, Navy junior defenseman Tom Fick sent a slap shot wide from the point but Van Winter picked up the ricochet and put the puck on net. Fellow Rhode Island native, freshman Cameron Harrigan, buried the rebound with the first goal of his Navy career, putting Navy up by two. Lehigh kept the game close with a goal when Ben Sargent was left alone in the slot with just under six minutes left to go. The Mids responded with some intense defensive play and solid goaltending from Marshall who ended up with 32 saves to secure the 4-3 victory.
The Midshipmen look to tack on another win next week as they square off against Slippery Rock University at 7:30 PM on Friday, September 24, at McMullen Ice Arena.