LOS ANGELES, Calif. – One buzzer-beater in overtime wasn’t enough for Paul Rudolph Saturday in Los Angeles. The redshirt senior, minutes after tying the game at 15-apiece at the end of the first overtime session, beat the clock at the end of the second to give No. 4 Stanford a 17-16 victory over No. 2 USC.
The goal was Rudolph’s fourth of the game and his third in overtime, as Stanford snapped a six-game skid against USC and registered its first victory against the Trojans since a 6-4 win in the SoCal Tournament semifinals on Oct. 2, 2011.
Stanford extended its winning streak to eight games and improved to 18-4 overall. More importantly, Stanford upped its MPSF record to 6-1 with one conference game remaining, effectively clinching a top-three seed at Nov. 29-Dec. 1’s MPSF Tournament. The Cardinal closes the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 23, hosting California in The Big Splash at Avery Aquatic Center. The game’s start time will be announced Monday.
Tied 12-12 after 32 minutes of regulation, USC jumped out to a 15-13 lead on the Cardinal with 1:23 to go in the first session of extra time, but Conner Cleary scored a 6-on-5 goal with 55 seconds remaining and Rudolph beat the buzzer to knot it up at 15-apiece.
The Trojans took another lead in the second overtime, going up 16-15 on Mace Rapsey’s fourth goal of the game, but in the final 33 seconds the Cardinal stunned the Trojans. Alex Bowen scored the last of his five goals to tie things up, and after USC couldn’t capitalize on its final chance, the Cardinal rushed into action in the final seconds, capping the wild contest with Rudolph’s winner at the horn.
His winner ended a wild final 14 minutes in which the teams combined for 15 goals. Stanford led USC (22-3, 4-2 MPSF) 10-8 entering the fourth period, and went up 11-8 with 6:52 remaining, but the Trojans got quick goals from Connor Virjee and Nikola Vavic to pull within one. Bowen got the Cardinal lead back to two with a power-play goal with 2:09 remaining, but USC answered with goals from Rapsey and Kostas Genidounias, the second coming with 1:11 left in regulation.
Over the first three periods the teams fought back-and-forth, as neither side led by more than a goal as the first half ended with the Cardinal up 6-5. After USC took a 1-0 lead 2:15 into the contest, the game would be tied four more times until the break, with Stanford taking its first lead at 4-3 with 5:14 to go in the half, and subsequently twice answering USC equalizers.
Goals from Bowen and Bonanni opened the second half to give Stanford the biggest lead for either team to that point at 8-5. USC fought its way back to within one at 8-7 but goals from Nick Hoversten and Bonanni sandwiched one from Rapsey to make it 10-8 at the end of the third frame.
Along with the goals from Bowen and Rudolph, Bonanni posted a hat trick, Cleary scored twice while Churnside, Hoversten and Reid Chase added a goal apiece. Goalie Drew Holland made 13 saves in the contest.
Stanford – 2 4 4 2 3-2 = 17
USC – 2 3 3 4 3-1 = 16
Stanford Goal Scorers: Bowen 5, Rudolph 4, Bonanni 3, Cleary 2, Chase, Churnside, Hoversten
USC Goal Scorers: Rapsey 4, Genidounias 3, Vavic 3, Virjee 3, Butler 2, Carden
Goalie Saves: Holland 13 (S); Clark 7 (USC)