Oct. 6, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
A four-goal third period for top-ranked USC broke open a close contest as fifth-ranked Stanford dropped a 9-6 decision Saturday morning at Avery Aquatic Center.
The Cardinal (6-3, 0-1 MPSF) had cut USC's (15-0, 2-0 MPSF) lead to one at 5-4 just 37 seconds into the third period, but four straight goals helped the Trojans take control and hold off Stanford's comeback efforts.
Stanford returns to action next weekend, traveling to Southern California for games at UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 13) and Pepperdine (Oct. 14).
Alex Bowen scored twice for Stanford, with Bret Bonanni, Conner Cleary, Nick Hoversten and Forrest Watkins each adding a goal.
On defense, goalie Scott Platshon made 16 saves against the conference's top-ranked offense.
The contest featured a tight first half in which neither school ever led by more than a goal. Nikola Vavic put the Trojans in front at the 5:44 mark of the opening period but the Cardinal answered 28 seconds later, as Bonanni fed inside to Cleary, whose one-timer went off the arm of USC goalie James Clark and just over the line for a power-play equalizer.
Hoversten fired home from the top of the perimeter at the 3:33 mark to give Stanford its first lead of the day. The Cardinal defense held the lead until the period's final minute, when the Trojans drew a five-meter penalty that Vavic converted to knot things up at 2-2 with 50 seconds to go.
The Cardinal wasted no time getting the lead back as the second period got underway. After USC jumped the whistle on the opening sprint, giving possession to Stanford, Bowen capitalized at 7:39 again from the top spot, giving the Cardinal a one-goal lead.
USC's Rex Butler would find some space at the inside post at the 3:27 mark, equalizing for the Trojans, and Kostas Genidounias would score 57 seconds before the break to make it 4-3 USC at the half.
Despite the goals, Platshon had made eight saves in the opening frame while Clark had managed just three.
The teams traded goals over the first 37 seconds of the third period, but from there it would be all Trojans. Mace Rapsey got the lead back to two for the Trojans just 21 seconds after Watkins' goal, and goals from Michael Rosenthal and Tobias Pruess upped the advantage to four at 8-4 by the end of the frame.
Stanford got one back as Bowen fired in his second 57 seconds into the fourth period, but the Cardinal offense could not crack the USC cage again until Bonanni scored with 18 seconds remaining.
USC - 2 2 4 1 = 9
Stanford - 2 1 1 2 = 6
Stanford Goal Scorers - Bowen 2, Bonanni, Cleary, Hoversten, Watkins
USC Goal Scorers - Pruess 3, Vavic 2, Butler, Genidounias, Rapsey, Rosenthal
Goalie Saves - Platshon 16 (S); Clark 9 (USC)