The St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team played one of its most thorough games of the season on Friday, earning a 10-3 conference win over Clarkson University at Hall-Leet Stadium. The Saints were solid in all aspects of the game, as the defense clamped down, the offense scored early and goaltender Jack Nuland turned in nine saves.
The Saints (8-3, 4-0) remain atop the Liberty League standings with the win, which was highlighted by a 42-17 shot advantage and a 31-17 lead in ground balls. The Saints also were 18-of-19 in clears, while Clarkson (7-4, 2-2) was 14-of-19, and rookie Kirk Ryder won 11-of-17 face-offs.
First-year Jeremy Vautour scored a hat trick in the first half, while seniors Davey Hovey and Mac Johnson each added a pair of goals. Pierson Fowler and Justin Ingram each had a goal and an assist in the win, while Jack Roberts, Cam Scullen, Oliver Dennis and Josh Robinson helped the defense keep Clarkson's attack off its game. Roberts finished with a game-high four caused turnovers and five ground balls.
St. Lawrence set the tone early with an 11-2 edge in shots in the first quarter en route to a 3-1 lead. Ingram opened the scoring 3:25 in, while Johnson took a feed from Hovey at the top of the crease and beat Golden Knight goalie Ryan Cole for the 2-0 lead midway through the stanza.
Though Clarkson's Austin Case would score his first of the season with 2:54 remaining in the opening period, Cody Danforth answered a mere :25 seconds later for a 3-1 lead. The goal would kick-start a seven-goal run that gave the home team a comfortable eight goal lead.
St. Lawrence would outscore Clarkson 4-0 in the second quarter, including the hat trick from Vautour, for a 7-1 lead at intermission. The Hampton, NB native beat Cole with two blitzing shots and another on a rebound in front. Fowler also unleashed a laser after completing a clear to put his team firmly in control at halftime.
With Nuland and the defense doing its part and having only committed three turnovers, the Saints' offense continued to thrive in the third quarter with Hovey and Johnson scoring back-to-back goals only 2:13 apart. Though that would be the only scoring in the period, it was enough to give St. Lawrence a seemingly-insurmountable lead at 9-1 with only 15:00 minutes remaining.
The Golden Knights would end the Saints' goal streak 2:28 into the fourth quarter on a man-up tally by Mark Nortz. Though Corey Herrington would claw Clarkson within six at 9-3 with 6:46 remaining, Hovey put the game away with 3:33 to play, attacking from behind the net and beating Cole for his sixth of the season.
Vautour now has 22 goals on the season and remains one of the top scoring threats in the Liberty League. Cole finished with 11 saves in the loss for Clarkson.
The Saints can wrap up a home game in the 2013 Liberty League Tournament when they host Rensselaer on "Senior Day" on April 20 at Hall-Leet Stadium. However, St. Lawrence will first complete its non-conference schedule on Tuesday, April 16 when they host Potsdam State at 4:00pm.