NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The No. 4 Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team extended its winning streak to eight straight games and won its third straight game against a nationally ranked foe after a 14-5 victory over ninth-ranked Pace on Saturday afternoon at Duane Stadium.
In a game that Merrimack never trailed in, the Warriors piled up seven goals in the first half and led by four at the break before outscoring the Setters by a 7-2 margin over the final 30 minutes to earn their 10th win of the season.
Three different players had hat tricks, while sophomore Sean Black finished with a game-high five points overall on a goal and four helpers. He was followed by junior Charlie Bertrand, sophomore Christian Thomas and junior Dom Thomas on the scoresheet, as all had three goals apiece. On the other end, junior Nick Ponte stopped 14 shots to highlight his impressive afternoon in net.
Score: Merrimack 14, Pace 5
Records: #4 Merrimack (10-1, 8-0 NE10) | #9 Pace (9-3, 5-3 NE10)
Location: Duane Stadiun | North Andover, Mass.
- Merrimack started hot with three goals in the game’s opening four minutes. Bertrand (2) and Black did the damage for the hosts, who stayed in front by a 3-0 tally until the closing minutes of the quarter. Pace got on the board with 3:25 to play, but senior Michael O’Connell answered about a minute later.
- The Setters thought they trimmed the deficit to two goals (4-2) after converting a man-up chance, but Christian Thomas had the last laugh, beating the buzzer with his first goal of the game (and 22nd of the season) with just four seconds to make it a 5-2 Merrimack lead heading to the second.
- After both sides combined for seven goals in the opening quarter, only three were scored in the second stanza. Dom Thomas and Bertrand had the first two, as the latter recorded his hat trick with 9:02 left in the half to give the Warriors a 7-2 lead. Pace only got one more over the remainder of the frame to keep the hosts in front by four at the midpoint.
- The Warriors kept rolling with four more goals in the third quarter, sandwiching one Pace tally to make it a 11-5 game heading to the fourth. Dom Thomas, O’Connell and Christian Thomas had the tallies for the hosts, with two coming off the stick of the former.
- Christian Thomas, junior Tyler Liantonio and freshman Jake Holava rounded out the match with three more goals in the final frame.
Notes and Numbers
- Black pushed his eye-popping five-game run to 38 points (10g, 28a) after his team-leading five-point production on Saturday. He was followed by the three hat tricks from Bertrand and the two Thomas brothers, while O’Connell finished with two goals, as well.
- Sophomore Carlin Joyal had another stellar day on defense causing four turnovers while finishing with five ground balls.
- Sophomore Davis Cronin went 9-of-17 on the faceoff X.
- Merrimack extended its conference winning streak to 19 straight contests, the longest active streak in the NE10 and in the country. Merrimack has also now won 21 straight games at home, the longest active home winning streak in the country.
- Merrimack controls the all-time series against Pace thanks to 12 straight wins and is now 18-8 all-time against the Setters.
- Shots: 44-30 (31-19 SOG)
- EMO: 2-4 // 2-2
- Faceoffs: 11-11 // Ground Balls: 42-26
- Turnovers (CT): 20-24 (10-6) // Clears: 23-26 // 21-28
Merrimack will be back home on Tuesday (April 16) with another top-20 matchup against Assumption College on Senior Day. Game time from Duane Stadium is set for 4 p.m.