STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (6-2, 1-0 GNAC) rallied from an early deficit to defeat Johnson & Wales University (1-7, 0-2 GNAC), 17-9, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's lacrosse contest at the SJC Athletics Complex on Saturday evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Johnson & Wales, the reigning GNAC Champion, opened the contest with three unanswered goals and held a 5-2 cushion after senior Thomas Lyons (Burlington, Mass.) netted an unassisted tally with 8:36 left in the second quarter.
The tide turned quickly in the Monks' favor however, as a pair of Brendan Martin (Nashua, N.H.) strikes in a matter of 15 seconds made it a one-goal game. Martin's latter goal, scored at the 7:41 mark, was the result of an outstanding individual effort, as the sophomore midfielder collected a loose ball 15 feet in front of the JWU goal and bounced a shot – as he was being checked to the ground – just under the crossbar to cut his team's deficit to 5-4.
Trailing 6-5 with 4:34 before the break, the Monks rattled off three unanswered goals to claim an 8-6 cushion heading into intermission. Seniors Michael Finn (Quincy, Mass.) and Tyler Retalic (Framingham, Mass.) and sophomore Shane Puleo (Nashua, N.H.) all hit pay-dirt in the closing three minutes of the second stanza to put the hosts up by two at the half.
Sophomore Zack Hamilton (Pepperell, Mass.) lifted St. Joe's to a 9-6 lead with an unassisted goal two minutes into the third quarter, but JWU senior attack Eric Lindaas (Milford, Pa.) netted the next two goals with the second strike making it a 9-8 game with 6:31 left in the penultimate quarter.
With the Wildcats surging and in need of a spark, the Monks benefitted from a costly mistake that seemed to change the dynamic of the game. Possessing in the visitors' defensive end, the hosts committed a turnover near the cage, but the JWU defender who picked up the ball – looking for a teammate behind the goal - inadvertently tossed it into his own net to make it a 10-8 contest with 5:40 left in the third.
The conference rivals swapped goals early in the fourth quarter as the scoreboard showed a 12-9 score in favor of the Monks with 12:12 to play before Saint Joseph's rattled off five-consecutive goals over a seven-minute span to close out the game scoring and notch the team's fifth-consecutive victory.
SJC sophomore Logan Skinner (Irving, Texas) enjoyed another strong outing with 13 saves and a pair of ground balls in the victory. JWU freshman Kyle Mangan (Ithaca, N.Y.) turned away 10 shots in the loss while sophomore Andrew Costa (North Providence, R.I.) allowed a goal in 1:25 of action (while Mangan served a penalty).
Saint Joseph's held the lead in shots (53-35), ground balls (48-28) and face-off wins (19-10) on the evening.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Puleo netted a pair of goals with three assists
- Finn tallied two goals and two assists
- Retalic added three goals, five ground balls, and three caused turnovers
- Martin scored twice with two ground balls
- Hamilton contributed a goal with two assists and four ground balls
- Freshman Devin Linscott (Nashua, N.H.) chipped in with two goals and an assist
- Freshman Troy Bottari (Nashua, N.H.) potted a pair of goals
- Junior face-off midi Shane Fors (Kalamazoo, Mich.) picked up a game-high 13 ground balls and was 19-for-29 on face-off attempts
- Sophomore Alex Osmanski (Abington, Mass.) scooped up five ground balls
- Senior Raymond Emery (Abington, Mass.) added four ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers
LEADERS – JOHNSON & WALES:
- Lindaas scored five goals on 10 shots
- Sophomore Matt Gelb (Huntington, N.Y.) added a goal and two assists
- Senior Ben Farrell (Baltimore, Md.) scored a goal with five ground balls
- Senior Brad Kretz (Sandy Hook, Conn.) contributed a goal and an assist
With the victory Saint Joseph's is now 4-2 in the history of the series with Johnson & Wales University and has now defeated the Wildcats in three-consecutive meetings dating back to the 2017 season.
Saint Joseph's returns to action Wednesday with a GNAC contest at Rivier University. Opening face-off is slated for 6:00 PM.