NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The top-ranked Merrimack College men’s lacrosse team opened its Northeast-10 Conference schedule off with a wire-to-wire victory over the College of Saint Rose on Saturday, never trailing en route to a 12-5 victory in both teams’ conference opener.
Score: Merrimack 12, Saint Rose 5
Records: #1 Merrimack (4-0, 1-0 NE10) | Saint Rose (1-4, 0-1 NE10)
Location: North Andover, Mass. | Merrimack Stadium
- The start of the game developed slowly in terms of scoring chances, as both sides battled the elements in what was a frigid and windy day on campus. The Warriors would take a 2-0 lead after the opening frame with senior Kyle Stenberg and freshman Christian Thomas finding the back of the net.
- Saint Rose got on the board at the 11:34 mark of the second quarter, but that was all the visitors would get in the entire first half. The Warriors would answer with tallies from junior Michael O’Connell and freshman Sean Black, with the latter scoring with only 1:13 left, to make it a 4-1 lead at the midpoint of the contest.
- Merrimack had a carry-over man-up opportunity to start the third quarter and promptly capitalized with another strike from O’Connell, and senior Kyle Stenberg built the home side’s lead to five (6-1) shortly after that. Saint Rose would get the next goal, but that prompted a run of four straight goals from the Warriors to close out the quarter, with Stenberg and Black combining for all of them. Black would not only cap off a hat trick with a man-up goal during that sequence, but tied his career-high by scoring his fourth goal of the game as part of that run.
- Leading by eight, the Warriors went up by as much as nine goals with just under 10 minutes to play before the Golden Knights got two final tallies to wrap up the final margin of victory.
- For the fourth straight game to start his college career, Black led all Warriors in scoring with seven points – tying his career-high that he set in his Merrimack debut – with four goals and three assists.
- Thomas was a force as well with four points thanks to two goals and two assists. Stenberg had his first hat trick of the year as part of a three-point outing, while O’Connell tied his season-high with a pair of goals.
- Senior specialist Blake Boudreau had one of his best outings as a Warrior, winning 14-of-17 faceoffs (.824) with 10 ground balls and also scored a highlight-reel goal in the process.
- Rookie Lee Sipes picked up his first collegiate assist and point during the afternoon, while senior Eric Coburn posted two caused turnovers and set up another goal himself directly off a takeaway.
- Senior James Bassett was a force on defense with six ground balls and four caused turnovers, two shy of his career-high.
- Freshman Peter Brown was solid again in net, allowing only five goals while making four saves in what was his second career start.
Notes and Numbers
- Black remained in sole possession of first place in the NE10 in scoring after his seven-point outing; he now has 27 points on the year (11g, 16a) and leads the conference in assists while ranking tied for third in goals scored.
- Thomas cracked into the conference’s top-five in assists by picking up his seventh and eighth helpers on the year.
- It’s early, but Brown has already posted numbers that rank among the league’s best goaltending figures, as his 4.62 goals against average is fourth-best in the conference.
- Merrimack held Saint Rose to only 20 shot attempts, with just 10 on goal, both the lowest by an opponent this year for the Warriors.
- On the other end, the Warriors recorded a new season high in both shot attempts (50) and shots on goal (34).
- Merrimack has won the last 16 games it has scored 10 or more goals in; its last loss when posting a double-digit scoring total was in double overtime against Le Moyne (12-11) on March 18, 2017.
- Merrimack turned the ball over just 12 times on Saturday and was 18-of-19 on the clears while finishing 2-for-8 with the extra-man unit. Merrimack also doubled up Saint Rose on ground balls by a 32-15 margin.
Merrimack will head to Syracuse next Saturday for a rematch of last year’s NCAA Championship Semifinal against second-ranked Le Moyne. Game time is set for 11 a.m.