COLCHESTER, Vt. – After grinding through an opening half that saw the score tied at the end of the first and owning just a two-goal lead at the midpoint, the fifth-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse program flexed its muscles in the second half, outscoring Saint Michael’s by an 8-1 margin on the way to a 12-3 road win on Tuesday afternoon in the regular season finale at Duffy Field. The victory earned the Warriors a share of the conference regular season crown for just the second time in school history.
With the win and results from around the league, Merrimack earned the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference Championship and will host the No. 6 seed this Saturday in the league tournament’s opening round at a to-be-determined time.
Score: Merrimack 12, Saint Michael’s 3
Records: #4 Merrimack (12-2, 10-1 NE10) | Saint Michael’s (4-11, 1-10 NE10)
Location: Duffy Field | Colchester, Vt.
- It was a grind of an opening quarter for both sides, which ended with a 1-1 deadlock. Only sophomore Christian Thomas scored in the first 15 minutes for the Warriors, who actually trailed after Saint Michael’s opened the scoring at 6:33. But Thomas would tie the game at 5:20, and the score went unchanged entering the second.
- Thomas built the Warriors a lead they would never relinquish with back-to-back strikes at 14:13 and 11:52, respectively, to start the second before another long scoring drought ensued over about a seven-minute span. The hosts pulled to within one before junior Dom Thomas netted his 21stwith 2:26 left in the half, and that 4-2 score would carry into the third quarter.
- The Purple Knights made it a one-goal game yet again less than four minutes into the second half, but that was the closest the score would get the rest of the way and also the last time Saint Michael’s would find the back of the net.
- Merrimack answered with a three-goal uninterrupted run to close out the quarter, with senior Michael O’Connell first burying a man-up marker followed by tallies from Dom Thomas and junior Tyler Liantonio, making it a 7-3 lead for the visitors with 45 minutes in the books.
- The Warriors pulled away comfortably with five more in the fourth while its defense settled in nicely. O’Connell added another two goals sandwiched around a strike by freshman Max Morrill to hit double-digits with 9:27 left. Christian Thomas and O’Connell would add one more each to round out the final margin of victory.
Notes and Numbers
- O’Connell would lead all Warriors by tying his single-game scoring high with four goals and two assists for six points. He was joined by Christian Thomas as four-goal producers on Tuesday, while Dom Thomas also finished with multiple goals.
- Sophomore Sean Black was the top playmaker with four assists on the afternoon, joining Dom Thomas with four points.
- Sophomore Davis Cronin finished 13-of-18 on the faceoff X and hauled in four ground balls; only Christian Thomas, junior goalkeeper Nick Ponteand sophomore midfielder Lee Sipes had more ground balls.
- Three different Warriors, including O’Connell, sophomore Jack-Henry Smith and freshman Nicholas Perez-Blanco had two caused turnovers.
- Ponte stopped 7-of-10 shots for a 70-percent clip on the day before sophomore Peter Brown came in for the final four-plus minutes of the contest.
- Merrimack has now won eight straight against Saint Michael’s and leads the all-time series, 22-10.
- Shots: 40-30 (24-11 SOG)
- EMO: 2-4 // 0-3
- Faceoffs: 17-23 // Ground Balls: 13-22
- Turnovers (CT): 18-18 (9-11) // Clears: 17-23 // 13-22
Merrimack opens the 2019 NE10 Championship this Saturday (April 27) in the opening round on campus. Earning the No. 3 seed in the tournament, the Warriors will play host to the No. 6 seed at a to-be-announced time.