The nationally-ranked No. 20 St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team overwhelmed Middlebury College on Tuesday evening, as the Saints outshot the Panthers 45-24 and won 17-of-23 face-offs en route to a sound 14-7 road victory. Rookie Conor Healey led the way with four goals and an assist, while Ryan Brigham (9-of-12) and Jake Davis (8-of-11) were outstanding in face-offs.
The Saints improve to 3-1 after finishing an impressive 5-for-7 on man-up tries and finishing with a 36-23 lead in ground balls. Nick Ford earned the win with eight saves in goal for the visitors, while his counterpart, Nate Gaudio, made 15 saves for Middlebury. The Panthers (1-4) were led offensively by Jack Rautiola's two goals.
Brigham and Caleb Kane finished with a game-high six ground balls each, while Kane also had a game-high three caused turnovers. Sam Marvin chipped in four ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers on the defensive end, while Tommy Hovey, Jeremy Vautour and Luke DiLisio each had two goals each.
The Saints opened the scoring only a minute into regulation when Hovey took a pass from captain Pierson Fowler and beat Gaudio for the early edge. Hovey would tack on his second to snap a 1-1 tie later in the first quarter, before Charlie Jennings and Vautor added man-up goals to give St. Lawrence a 4-2 cushion after one.
Middlebury pulled back to within one on a man-up goal by Rautiola only :13 seconds into the second, but back-to-back goals by Healey and DiLisio gave the visitors some breathing room at 6-3. After the teams exchanged goals, Brian Ayers got the home team one closer with 6:16 to play in the half at 7-5, but a failed man-up try for the Panthers gave St. Lawrence momentum in the final minutes. Vautour's man-up goal with 2:51 left came on a two-man advantage from point-blank range, while DiLisio capped the scoring for a 9-5 halftime lead.
St. Lawrence would assert itself in the third quarter, pulling away with outstanding defense and a pair of unassisted goals by Duprey and Chris Anklin only 2:06 apart. The 11-5 lead after three proved to be plenty, as the Saints outscored Middlebury 3-2 in the fourth quarter for a decisive 14-7 non-conference victory. Healey scored two of his four goals in the fourth, including a back-breaking man-down goal in the opening minute of the period, while Marc Perroni capped the game scoring for the seven-goal win.
Fowler and Vautour each finished with two assists, while Garrett Gagne, Healey, Perroni, Jonathan Fairbanks and Anklin each had one.
The victory over Middlebury is the first for St. Lawrence in over 15 years, as the Saints had been outscored 45-17 in the three previous meetings (0-3).
St. Lawrence is scheduled to open the 2014 Liberty League regular season on Saturday, March 22 when the team hosts Skidmore College at Hall-Leet Stadium at 1:00pm.