HICKORY, N.C. --- Eric Dickinson scored the game-winning goal 45 seconds into overtime as Lenoir-Rhyne rallied from two fourth-quarter deficits to defeat Tusculum 12-11 in South Atlantic Conference men's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Moretz Stadium.
Dickinson's goal gave the 12th-ranked Bears (6-1, 4-0 SAC) the win in a game that featured three ties in the final 17 minutes of regulation. Mike Hanlon led Lenoir-Rhyne with five goals and an assist while Dickinson had two goals and an assist for the Bears.
The Pioneers (5-2, 1-1 SAC), who had their five-game winning streak come to an end, were led by four goals from Ben Boyd, along with three goals and an assist from Liam Macdonald and a goal and four assists from Dallas Wade.
Tusculum trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter and 5-4 at halftime before taking its first lead at 9-8 on a goal by Boyd with 1:16 left in the third quarter. The Pioneers led 10-8 early in the fourth quarter following a goal from Nate Wade, before the Bears tied it on goals from Dickinson and Ben Corrigan, the latter with 9:42 left.
Nate Wade restored Tusculum's lead at 11-10 on a man-up goal with 8:17 to play, but Hanlon's fifth of the afternoon with 3:36 tied the score at 11-11. The Pioneers and Bears each had a possession in the final 90 seconds of regulation but neither team could score, forcing overtime.
In the extra period, the Bears won the faceoff and set up the offense, with Anthony Fraga finding Dickinson for the winning goal just 45 seconds into the overtime frame.
Lenoir-Rhyne took a 2-0 lead as Hanlon scored twice in a 53-second span in the opening five minutes, then the Bears went ahead 3-0 as Will Remsen scored just before the horn to end the opening quarter.
Tusculum got on the board with 10:07 left in the second quarter as Dallas Wade converted a man-up goal, and Chris Ryan scored 2 1/2 minutes later to bring the Pioneers within 3-2. Macdonald scored twice in the final three minutes of the half, each time answering a Lenoir-Rhyne goal, as the Pioneers trailed 5-4 at the break.
Goals from Ryan Sicker and Hanlon pushed the Bears in front 7-4 with 13:07 left in the third quarter, but Boyd scored twice in less than two minutes to pull the Pioneers within 7-6 with 10:49 left in the third. After Sicker scored his second of the game to give Lenoir-Rhyne an 8-6 lead, the Pioneers closed the quarter with three straight goals.
Boyd brought the Pioneers to within 8-7 with 2:53 left in the period, Macdonald tied it at 8-8 with 1:47 to go in the quarter, and Boyd gave the Pioneers their first lead of the day at 9-8 with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter.
Lenoir-Rhyne finished the game with a slim 45-43 edge in shots over Tusculum, while the Pioneers had a 30-28 advantage in ground balls. The Bears had 17 turnovers as a team to 16 by the Pioneers, but Lenoir-Rhyne had the edge at the faceoff dot by an 18-7 margin.
Joel Edgar led the Pioneers with five ground balls and had a pair of caused turnovers, while Ross Parsons had four ground balls for Tusculum. Dickinson led the Bears with four caused turnovers while faceoff man Shane Gottberg had nine ground balls in support of his 17-for-23 performance at the dot.
Tusculum went 2-for-3 with the man advantage and is now 16-for-29 (55.2 percent) through seven games this season. The Bears were 0-for-3 with the extra man, boosting the Pioneers' man-down defense to 16 kills in 20 attempts (80 percent).
Kevin Haggerty made a season-high 16 saves in goal for the Pioneers, including nine in the second half, while Ryan Crompton had 14 saves for the Bears.
Tusculum will be back home next Saturday, March 25 against Catawba at Pioneer Field, with game time scheduled for 3 p.m.