The St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team went toe-to-toe with the top team in the nation on Saturday, playing No. 1 RIT tough for most of three quarters. However, the Tigers showcased why they're considered the favorites for the national title, outscoring the Saints 8-1 down the stretch to win 19-12 in Canton, NY to close out a perfect 16-0 regular season.
St. Lawrence (8-5, 3-3) was led by Charlie Duprey's hat trick and Jeremy Vautour's four-point outing (2g,2a). However, the Tigers had too much fire power, as Allister Warren had six goals and Ryan Lee scored four while face-off specialist Tyler Brooks-Lambert won 26-of-33 draws to give his team the majority of the possession. Nick Ford finished with 14 saves for the home team in the loss, while Pat Johnston earned the win behind a six-save outing.
The Saints took a 2-0 lead in a wild first quarter thanks to tallies from captain Pierson Fowler and Duprey. RIT responded with four goals in a span of only 1:53 including two from Warren for a 4-2 edge. The back-and-forth affair continued as Conor Healey and Vautour scored for the home team to knot the score, and though Lee would rip a shot past Ford for an RIT lead, Vautour beat Johnston on a rebound with .01 seconds left in the first quarter. The incredible sequence sent the game to the second quarter tied 5-5.
Duprey put St. Lawrence ahead 6-5 early in the second quarter, but RIT once again responded with a four-goal run to gain separation up 9-6. Taylor Wisman scored two of the goals, while Lee and Casey Jackson also helped push the lead to three. Though Tommy Hovey would score a man-up goal with 3:20 left in the half to cut the deficit to two, Warren's goal only 44 seconds later capped the scoring and re-established the Tigers' three-goal advantage at halftime, 10-7.
Lee gave RIT its largest lead of the game at 11-7 only 2:31 into the second half, but this time, it was St. Lawrence that came back with a four-goal run of its own to tie the score at 11-11 and steal the momentum. Duprey, William Burchenal and Jennings scored in a span of 1:54 to close the gap to one at 11-10. Luke DiLisio then bounced a shot past Johnston to level the scoring at 11-11 with 6:22 left in the third.
In what proved to be a key moment in the game, St. Lawrence caused a turnover while killing a penalty and began to clear the ball. However, an official called the home team off-sides, giving the ball back to RIT. The call, which was argued by the Saints' coaching staff, allowed the Tigers to steal the momentum with three quick goals to go up by three, 14-11, at the end of three. Warren gave the visitors the lead back, and McMullan and Jack Krzyston followed with goals only seven seconds apart off face-off wins by Brooks-Lambert.
The Tigers were able to keep the momentum in the fourth quarter, outscoring St. Lawrence 5-1 in the frame to post the 19-12 win. Burchenal added his second of the game for the Saints in the final period.
RIT finished with a 45-27 advantage in shots and a 29-18 lead in ground balls. The visitors also had a 26-7 lead in face-offs and were 7-of-9 on clears. The Saints were 14-of-15 in transition and finished 1-of-2 on the man-up.
Prior to the game, the 11 members of the Saints' Class of 2014 playing in their final home game were honored. This group included Pierson Fowler, Gavin Woolard, Connor Behun, Taylor Gerhardt, Marc Perroni, Alonzo Holcombe, Sam Marvin, Zach Sloan, Alden Frelinghuysen, Tristram Nicola and Jake Davis.
St. Lawrence will look to avenge the loss against the top-ranked Tigers next Friday, May 2, in the 2014 Liberty League Semifinals in Rochester, NY. The game is scheduled to begin at 4:00pm.