MANCHESTER, N.H. – After both teams were deadlocked at nine goals apiece at the half, Tuesday night’s rematch of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference men’s lacrosse championship appeared to be living up to the billing.
But the fourth-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse program pulled away with nine goals in the second half while yielding just three on the defensive end to spark the Warriors over host and 20th-ranked Saint Anselm College, 18-12, at Grappone Stadium. It was Merrimack’s fifth straight victory.
Junior Charlie Bertrand had another Herculean effort with eight goals, his second such outing of the year, while his running mates – sophomore attackers Sean Black and Christian Thomas – were equally lethal, as the trio altogether combined for 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points as part of an incredible offensive performance on the front end. Sophomore Davis Cronin, meanwhile, had another solid outing on the faceoff X, winning 22-of-33 draws.
Score: Merrimack 18, Saint Anselm 12
Records: #4 Merrimack (7-1, 5-0 NE10) | #20 Saint Anselm (3-4, 2-3 NE10)
Location: Grappone Stadium | Manchester, N.H.
- Both teams traded punch-after-punch in the opening quarter; Saint Anselm had an early two-goal lead, but Bertrand answered them both almost single handedly. The two sides exchanged goals until Bertrand buried a feed from Black with just over two minutes to play in the frame, but the Hawks drew the game level at 5-5 with a strike off the ensuing faceoff to keep things even after 15 minutes.
- That back-and-forth action pursued in the second frame; the Hawks temporarily went in front in the opening minute, but junior Dom Thomas and Bertrand answered with successive goals for the Warriors to put them back in front for the moment. The sides exchanged two more goals apiece, with Bertrand and Christian Thomas doing the damage for the visitors, who had a 9-8 lead with 3:47 left in the half.
- The Hawks, however, scored on the last possession of the half to knot things up at 9-all entering the locker room.
- Senior Michael O’Connell took a feed from Dom Thomas with 2-1/2 minutes gone in the second half, and Merrimack would never trail from there on out. The visitors converted a man-up strike off the stick of Christian Thomas less than two minutes later before Thomas set up a marker from freshman Max Morrill at 9:02, pushing the Warriors out to their largest lead at the time (12-9).
- Saint Anselm got back to within two late in the quarter, but Bertrand’s seventh of the evening took that momentum away to give the Warriors a 13-10 lead entering the final stanza.
- The Hawks again made it interesting with an early man-up goal and had a chance to capitalize on another, but they would never get closer than two from there on out, as Merrimack ended the game on a 5-1 scoring run with tallies coming from Bertrand, Christian Thomas (3x) and freshman Jake Holava to round out the affair.
Notes and Numbers
- Bertrand’s eight-goal afternoon was his second this season and first since his 12-point explosion at LIU Post earlier in the season.
- Black, meanwhile, set a new record for assists in a single game after setting up 10 Merrimack markers on Tuesday night. He now has posted 10-point games in two out of his last three outings.
- Christian Thomas exploded for a season-high nine points on the strength of five goals and four helpers, finishing one point back of his single-game career-high.
- Cronin came up big on the X again after winning 22 more draws tonight; he now has won 62 of his last 78 faceoffs (79.5%).
- Sophomore Carlin Joyal had two caused turnovers for the Warriors, while Cronin led all players with 17 ground balls.
- Merrimack extended its conference winning streak to 16 straight contests, the longest active streak in the NE10 and third-longest conference winning streak nationally.
- Merrimack extended its decade of dominance against Saint Anselm, winning its 15th straight over the Hawks to improve to 26-3 all-time.
- Shots: 42-33 (25-17 SOG)
- EMO: 3-3 // 2-6
- Faceoffs: 22-11 // Ground Balls: 41-21
- Turnovers (CT): 19-16 (5-11) // Clears: 16-18 // 15-21
Merrimack returns home to take on Southern New Hampshire this Saturday. Game time from Duane Stadium is set for 1 p.m.