- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2009

ANNAPOLIS | Injuries stranded Bruce Nechanicky on Navy’s sideline for nearly two years.

It took the senior only two games to remind the Midshipmen what they were missing.

Nechanicky scored two goals in the second half Saturday - the second a behind-the-back dart late in the fourth quarter - to help No. 9 Navy outlast No. 19 Ohio State 8-6 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“He’s the fastest player on the field, and you can’t replace that guy,” attackman Tim Paul said. “When he works from [behind the net], it’s like magic. He’s going to draw two every time. You saw the behind-the-back today, and that’s just unbelievable. That’s something we expect from Bruce.”

And need. The Midshipmen (2-0) were limited on offense a year ago, and Nechanicky wasn’t even around at the time. Nechanicky first tore an ACL in March 2007, costing him the rest of that season. It took seven months to return, and in his first intrasquad scrimmage back he shredded his knee again.

He was more patient the second time around, undergoing a different surgery that is supposed to hold the ligaments in place better. He didn’t run for more than five months and left school last spring for a semester before finally returning in the fall.

“I worked so hard to get back to where I am now,” Nechanicky said. “I know I can’t take anything for granted. I just have to play every play like it’s my last.”

His two best plays ensured the Mids dispatched the Buckeyes (1-1) in a meeting of two NCAA quarterfinalists from a year ago. He deposited a feed from Shane Durkin with 11:26 left in the third quarter to make it 7-4, though the Buckeyes closed within 7-6 on Mario Ventiquattro’s goal with a second left in the period.

With senior Andy Tormey pestering Ohio State star Joel Dalgarno (three goals), Navy held the Buckeyes to two shots in the final quarter. But the Mids still needed some wiggle room, lest they leave themselves vulnerable to another goal in the final seconds.

Nechanicky handled that. Plugged in to provide an invert option, he took Andy Warner’s pass in front of the cage and whipped it behind his back to beat goalie Brandon Freeman (12 saves) with 2:34 left to provide a two-goal cushion.

“It gives you something at attack we haven’t had,” coach Richie Meade said. “[Paul is] a great ballhandler, but Bruce is a guy who can accelerate in space and create some problems. Obviously it helped us today.”

No. 1 Virginia 13, Drexel 7: In Charlottesville, Garrett Billings had five goals and two assists and Steele Stanwick added two goals and two assists as the Cavaliers handled the Dragons in the season opener for both teams.

No. 3 Maryland 15, Air Force 4: In Jacksonville, Fla., Will Yeatman had two goals and four assists and was one of eight players with a multipoint game as the Terrapins (2-0) routed the Falcons (0-1) in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Face Off for a Cause.

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