The nationally-ranked No. 16 St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team was able to hang on for an 8-7 non-conference victory over SUNY Geneseo on Tuesday afternoon in Canton, NY. The Saints saw a five goal lead slip away, but goalie Nick Ford kicked aside a shot in the final seconds to preserve the home win as the Scarlet and Brown improve to 5-1 on the season.
St. Lawrence was led by Marc Perroni's two goals, while Ford turned in 12 saves to earn the victory. The defense was anchored by rookie Caleb Kane, who had a game-high five caused turnovers while adding four ground balls. Geneseo's Adam Perri made 14 saves to keep the visitors in the game despite being outshot 19-6 in the first half. Joe Chiara had a hat trick for the Knights, who fall to 2-3 on the year, while Kyle Kerrigan had a game-high seven ground balls.
"I thought early on, we executed well on both ends of the field. We were able to get to a lot of loose balls that gave us possession time, but their goalie made some excellent saves," said Saints head coach Mike Mahoney. "Once they made a push, Nick (Ford) made some big saves at key moments to seal it. It's a good learning experience for our guys and can help us going into a big conference game this weekend."
St. Lawrence finished with a 34-29 advantage in shots despite Geneseo owning a 14-3 edge in the fourth quarter. The Saints also held a 40-30 lead in ground balls and controlled the special teams play, finishing 2-of-3 on man-up while keeping the Knights scoreless on two man-up tries.
The Saints dominated the possession throughout the first quarter, but only came away with a 2-0 lead. Tommy Hovey's man-up goal opened the scoring at 5:22, while Pierson Fowler followed with an unassisted goal minutes later. Though the home team had other good looks, Perri was able to keep the Knights in the game despite his team struggling with turnovers.
Perroni's first of the game opened the second quarter scoring for a 3-0 lead, and despite Geneseo cracking the scoreboard midway through the period on a goal by Steve Cregan, the team went to intermission with a 5-1 advantage. Perroni made it 4-1 with 3:52 left in the quarter, while Charlie Jennings followed only 40 seconds later for the four-goal edge.
Alec Dietsch made it 6-1 early in the third quarter and the Saints seemed to have the game well in hand. Cregan and Chiara answered to pull the visitors within three at 6-3, but the first collegiate goal by long stick middie Jamie Dowell off the ensuing faceoff seemed to head off the Knights' momentum. Unfortunately for St. Lawrence, Cregan would set up a crucial goal for Sam Thompson that came with .7 seconds remaining in the third that gave Geneseo life heading into the fourth quarter.
Thompson's goal kick-started a three-goal run, with tallies from Chiara and Steve Aziz that pulled the Knights within one at 7-6 with 7:40 to play. Jeremy Vautour's rebound goal with 3:17 to play gave the Saints a bit of breathing room up 8-6, but Chiara answered with 1:30 to play in regulation to make it an 8-7 game.
St. Lawrence had possession following the face-off, but Geneseo was able to create a turnovers behind its own goal. After a successful clear with under a minute to play, the Knights created a shot for Zach Yehl in front, but Ford kicked his shot aside, allowing the clock to run out on a narrow one-goal victory.
The Saints will resume Liberty League play on Saturday, March 29 when the team travels to Schenectady, NY for a battle with fellow nationally-ranked foe No. 11 Union College at noon.