The St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team opened the 2013 Liberty League season on Saturday afternoon with a 9-8 victory over Skidmore College at Wachenheim Field in Saratoga Springs, NY. Senior goalie Jack Nuland made a career-high 16 saves in the win, while first-year student Jeremy Vautour scored a pair of goals including the game-winner.
St. Lawrence (3-3, 1-0) was outshot 43-29 including 13-5 in the fourth quarter, but held on for the win thanks to a 31-25 edge in ground balls and Jake Davis winning 14-of-21 face-offs. Skidmore (2-5, 0-1) mounted a rally in the final stanza before falling short despite the Saints committing 30 turnovers. Nuland out-dueled Skidmore's Matt Diaco, who made nine saves in the loss.
Skidmore's Kevin Mulvey and Jon Hoeg each recorded hat tricks for the home team, while Vautour was one of eight different goal scorers for the Scarlet and Brown. Senior co-captain Cam Scullen had a team best five ground balls for the visitors, who scored twice in a span of 1:06 for a 2-0 lead in the first quarter. Cody Danforth and Tucker Garfield gave St. Lawrence an early lead, though Mulvey scored Skidmore's first goal only :04 seconds before the end of the opening period to cut the deficit to one at 2-1.
Hoeg and Mike Perlow answered a goal by Vautour to tie the game at 3-3, and Hoeg would give the Thoroughbreds the lead for the first time at 4-3 with 6:58 remaining in the half. Senior co-captain Davey Hovey would cap the first half scoring with his third of the year from Justin Ingram, tying the score at intermission, 4-4.
Skidmore struck first only 3:30 into the third quarter, taking a 5-4 lead on Hoeg's third of the game. However, Alden Frelinghuysen tied it at 5-5 and Josh Robinson put the Saints ahead only :08 seconds later off the ensuing face-off, 6-5. The consecutive goals were followed by tallies from Ingram and Mac Johnson to end the third quarter, pushing the lead to 8-5 headed to the fourth.
Skidmore clawed within striking distance again thanks to back-to-back goals by Mulvey, bringing the home team within one at 8-7 with 9:00 minutes remaining. Vautour scored his 10th of the season with 6:58 left off a feed from Hovey for a 9-7 lead, which would prove to be the eventual game-winner after Perlow scored the final goal for Skidmore with 3:59 remaining. Skidmore had an opportunity to tie the game with possession, but the Saints' defense and Nuland shut down the attack to hang on for the 9-8 victory.
The St. Lawrence win avenges a 10-9 loss to Skidmore the last time the two teams met in Saratoga Springs in 2009, which snapped the Saints' 32-game conference win streak.
The Saints will be in action again in a non-conference contest on Tuesday, March 26 when the team squares off with Geneseo State in Geneseo, NY.