NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Led by a career-high 10-point outing from sophomore Sean Black, who had four goals alongside junior Charlie Bertrand, the No. 4 Merrimack College men’s lacrosse program pounded its way to a 16-12 victory over visiting Bentley on Wednesday night at Duane Stadium.
The Warriors, who remain unbeaten in Northeast-10 Conference play (3-0), also won their third home game in as many tries this season. The goals came early and often as part of a seven-goal opening quarter; the hosts took a 9-4 lead into halftime, added five more markers in the third and then held off a late Bentley charge to secure the four-goal victory.
Score: Merrimack 16, Bentley 12
Records: #4 Merrimack (5-1, 3-0 NE10) | Bentley (3-2, 1-2 NE10)
Location: Duane Stadium | North Andover, Mass.
- Merrimack carried over the momentum from its incredible fourth-quarter comeback on Saturday into the start of Wednesday’s matchup, as the Warriors ripped off the first four goals of the game in rapid fashion. Rookie Drew Hailey and Bertrand found the twine twice in a minute’s span, and then it was Black and Bertrand replicating those efforts about four minutes later to make it 4-0 in favor of the hosts early.
- Bentley thought it had some momentum generated after netting its first goal with two minutes left in the opening quarter, but the Warriors showed their lethal scoring ability again with three goals in a 50-second span to close out the frame off the sticks of senior Michael O’Connell, Bertrand and junior Tyler Liantonio to end the first quarter with a 7-1 lead.
- The hosts’ lead reached as high as eight goals in the second stanza thanks to goals from O’Connell and Liantonio – with the latter being a particularly impressive behind-the-back tally – before Bentley got within five with the final two goals of the half. The Falcons had another chance late in the period, but Merrimack’s defense forced a turnover on the final possession to carry a 9-4 lead into the break.
- Merrimack outscored Bentley by a 5-3 margin in the third, with Black adding two more markers to his career night. Freshman Jake Holava, O’Connell and sophomore Christian Thomas added the other strikes to give the Warriors a 14-7 lead heading to the final frame.
- The visitors carried the momentum from the end of the third with two early goals to start the fourth, but Black and Bertrand each countered to push the lead back to seven (16-9).
- The Falcons made it interesting with three goals in just over a minute to get within four, but that was the closest they’d get, as the Warriors held on for the four-goal victory.
Notes and Numbers
- Black secured Merrimack’s third double-digit scoring output by a player this season, but the first one by a player not named Bertrand. The latter had 10 in a road win at Lake Erie earlier in the month, as well as 12 points at LIU Post.
- Bertrand finished with six points on four goals and two helpers, while O’Connell (3g) and Liantonio (2g) combined for five goals between the two of them.
- Sophomore Davis Cronin highlighted Merrimack’s dominant day on the X with a career-high 20 wins on 25 attempts (80.0%). He finished with a game-best six ground balls, as well.
- Merrimack has now won 19 straight games at home, which is still the longest active home winning streak in the country. Merrimack also extended its conference winning streak to 14 straight contests, the longest active streak in the NE10 and third-longest conference winning streak nationally.
- Now winners of nine straight against Bentley, Merrimack controls the all-time series with a 20-13 record over the Falcons.
- Shots: 44-37 (32-21 SOG)
- EMO: 1-3 // 0-2
- Faceoffs: 23-9 // Ground Balls: 36-20
- Turnovers (CT): 14-11 (4-6) // Clears: 11-14 // 16-21
Merrimack will travel to AIC on Saturday (March 30). Game time is set for 5 p.m.