The nationally-ranked No. 17 St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team won its eighth straight game on Saturday as the Saints used a five-goal fourth quarter to run away from Rensselaer by the score of 12-3 at Hall-Leet Stadium in Canton, NY. The home team celebrated its "Senior Day" in style, as the victory clinched a Liberty League Tournament playoff game for St. Lawrence.
The Saints (10-3, 5-0) are guaranteed to be either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the 2013 conference tournament, with a showdown next Saturday at RIT deciding the regular season title. Rensselaer falls to 5-8 (1-5) after being outshot 34-24 and struggling with possession, winning only 4-of-18 face-offs.
"I thought we gave another really solid, all-around team effort," said St. Lawrence head coach Mike Mahoney. "We showed poise offensively and kept their attack from gaining any momentum on the defensive end. To clinch a home playoff game is crucial for us and we'll need to give another outstanding effort next weekend against one of the best teams in the country, RIT."
First-year student Kirk Ryder (10-of-13) and junior Jake Davis (4-of-5) combined to win 14 face-offs for St. Lawrence, which also held a solid 36-20 edge in ground balls. Senior co-captain Cam Scullen added a game-high seven ground balls and five caused turnovers, as well as his second goal of the year to help St. Lawrence remain unbeaten in the conference.
Junior Pierson Fowler led all scorers with a hat trick, while Alden Frelinghuysen and Malcolm Lynch added two goals each. Ryder picked up his first career goal while seniors Mac Johnson, Davey Hovey, Tucker Garfield and Scullen each scored in their final home regular season contest. Eric Valero led RPI with two goals, while David Hey chipped in a goal and an assist and John Phillips had a team-high three caused turnovers.
St. Lawrence came out of the gate flying, owning a 10-3 advantage in shots in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead in the game. Frelinghuysen opened the scoring at 6:32, while Johnson took a great pass from fellow senior Justin Ingram at the top of the crease and beat Engineer goalie Alex Castronovo for a 2-0 lead. Lynch would make it 3-0 in transition with 4:45 left in the first, as he cleared the ball and went straight to goal unchallenged for a 3-0 advantage and his second career goal.
Hey would get the visitors on the scoreboard with a man-up goal 4:14 into the second quarter. However, the Saints would win the ensuing faceoff and Lynch scored only :12 seconds later to push the lead back to three at 4-1. Garfield and Valero would exchange goals to cap the first half scoring with the home team up 5-2.
St. Lawrence simply overwhelmed Rensselaer in the second half, using a seven-goal run to put the game away throughout the third and fourth quarters. Hovey used a pump fake to beat Castronovo for a 6-2 lead, while Frelinghuysen made it 7-2 to cap the third quarter scoring.
Three Saints' goals in a span of 2:22 made it 10-2 early in the fourth stanza, as Fowler scored followed by Scullen's second of the year at 3:35. Fowler then added a man-down goal on a breakaway try, his 14th of the season.
Fowler made it 11-2 with 6:23 to play and was followed a mere :06 seconds later by Ryder, who won the ensuing faceoff cleanly, rushed towards goal and fired a low shot past RPI back-up goalie James Manchester to cap the seven-goal run and put the home team on top 12-2. Valero would cap the game's scoring at 9:44 with his 21st of the year from Mike Sarson.
Castronovo suffered the loss for the Engineers, making three saves and allowing 10 goals, while Manchester made one stop and allowed two tallies. St. Lawrence senior goalie Jack Nuland earned the win with an efficient eight-save outing, as his defense again did a fabulous job limiting the opponent's chances. Fellow senior Jeff Goeke played the final 2:00 minutes of regulation for the Scarlet and Brown.
Following the game, the Saints honored the 14 members of the Class of 2013. This group includes Jack Nuland, Jeff Goeke, Marcus Emerson, Cam Scullen, Justin Ingram, Davey Hovey, James Fuller, Josh Robinson, Dave Schoettler, Mac Johnson, Oliver Dennis, Brian Wilber, Cody Danforth and Tucker Garfield.
St. Lawrence will take on nationally-ranked No. 3 RIT next Saturday, April 27 for the Liberty League regular season title in Rochester, NY at 12:00pm.