STANDISH, Maine – Junior attack Michael Finn (Quincy, Mass.) scored with 1:59 left in the third overtime to lift #4 Saint Joseph's College (10-8) past #5 Rivier University (6-10), 11-10, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Lacrosse Tournament Quarterfinal at the SJC Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the second round of the GNAC Tournament and will play at Norwich University on Wednesday in a semifinal slated to begin at 7:00 PM. The top-seeded Cadets toppled #8 Anna Maria College, 16-2, in other quarterfinal action this afternoon.
For Rivier, the loss signals the end of the 2018 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Saint Joseph's held a 10-8 lead after Finn scored an unassisted goal with 6:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Rivier senior attack Liam Ryan (Dorchester, Mass.) scored twice in the closing five minutes to send the game to overtime.
Both goalkeepers made game-saving stops during extra play, as SJC senior Connor Trainor (Franklin, Mass.) made an outstanding save on an Eric Guinasso (Pelham, N.H.) attempt with 1:39 left in the second OT period and Rivier junior Matt Cloutman (Peabody, Mass.) registered an incredible stop on a Tyler Retalic (Framingham, Mass.) shot with 3:14 remaining in the third extra frame.
The conference counterparts traded goals in the first quarter as the contest stood at a 2-2 tie heading into the second stanza. Saint Joseph's freshmen Glenn Dion (Pembroke, N.H.) and Shane Puleo (Nashua, N.H.) scored 35 seconds apart to lift the hosts to a 4-2 lead with 12:37 left in the second frame, but the Raiders responded with three unanswered strikes and went on to secure a 6-5 edge heading into halftime.
The Monks regained the lead with goals from Puleo and junior Dan Cunningham (West Islip, N.Y.) early in the third period and senior Matt Donnell (Watertown, Mass.) countered a pair of Guinasso markers with a man-up goal to knot the game at 8-8 going into the final frame.
Trainor totaled 10 saves in goal for the Monks while Cloutman stopped 16 attempts in a losing effort for the Raiders.
Saint Joseph's held advantages in shots (51-42), ground balls (41-35), and caused turnovers (15-8) and successfully cleared the ball on 18 of 21 attempts with 11 face-off wins. Rivier was 15-21 on clear attempts and won 16 face-offs.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Finn scored three goals on 13 shots with five ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers
- Puleo added two goals and three assists with five ground balls
- Donnell netted a pair of tallies
- Retalic and senior Brendan Barrett (East Sandwich, Mass.) registered a goal and an assist apiece
- Senior Tom Lisiecki (South Boston, Mass.) was a force on defense and recorded three ground balls and five caused turnovers
- Senior Liam Skinner (Irving, Texas) chipped in with eight ground balls and three caused turnovers
- Sophomore Shane Forse (Kalamazoo, Mich.) was 11-26 on face-off attempts and picked up three ground balls
LEADERS – RIVIER:
- Ryan scored three goals off 13 shots and added an assist with a pair of ground balls
- Junior Rob Fullerton (Wilmington, Mass.) scored a goal with three assists
- Guinasso and Joe Kelland (Watertown, Mass.) netted a pair of goals apiece
- Junior A.J. Gearin (Lunenburg, Mass.) was 10-19 on face-off attempts with five ground balls
With the triumph, Saint Joseph's is now 7-3 all-time versus Rivier University, a team the Monks defeated by a 12-11 margin at the SJC Athletics Complex in the regular-season finale on Wednesday. For the Monks, the postseason victory is the program's first since the Monks topped Becker College, 10-8, in a GNAC Tournament quarterfinal on April 26th, 2011.
Now 10-8 on the year, the Monks are assured a winning season for the first time since 2011.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.