Limestone vs. Mercyhurst
May 18, 2013
The Game Story:
ERIE, Pa. – Neither team would give up and neither would go away. It quite literally came down to who scored last as No. 2 Limestone (16-2, 6-0 CC) could not withstand a late rally from No. 1 Mercyhurst (18-0, 7-0 ECAC) which recovered from a two-goal deficit in the final minute of regulation before earning an 18-17 victory on Saturday, May 18 that sends them to the NCAA Division II Men's Lacrosse National Championship Game.

Following numerous ties and lead changes, a two goal burst by junior attack Todd Nakasuji (Ajax, Ontario, Canada) with 10:08 remaining left Limestone with what would seem to be an insurmountable 15-13 lead in a game such as this. However, Mercyhurst came right back with back-to-back scores as Deven Alves (8:21) and Jake McAndrew (6:39) brought it back even at 15-15.

As had become common with ties in the game – it would not last. Within less than a minute, freshman midfielder Reid Reinholdt (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada) drilled home the go-ahead goal at 5:51 and was followed just 49 seconds later by senior attack Corey Rich (Sacramento, Calif.) off a pass from senior attack Riley Loewen (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada) to make it 17-15.

Limestone then stepped up the defensive intensity as they held MU scoreless until the final minute of regulation. For that final minute, however, the Lakers got it done on offense. Zac Reid delivered his seventh goal of the game with 58 seconds on the clock to close to within 17-16.

Following that goal, the 'Hurst capitalized on a Saints turnover deep in the MU zone with just 13 seconds remaining. James Chayka then raced downfield and converted on a quick shot with four seconds left to tie the game at 17-17 and force an unlikely overtime.

That goal would be crucial. Senior faceoff specialist Jake Ternosky (LaFayette, N.Y.)
won the opening faceoff of sudden victory overtime and charged down the field, nearly ending the game on a quick shot of his own. Following that impressive save, Mercyhurst, which faced a similar situation in last week's 10-9 overtime victory over No. 10 Lake Erie, cleared the ball to midfield before taking a timeout.

Out of that break, whatever play MU coach Chris Ryan designed was executed to perfection as the Lakers worked the ball around the offensive zone before it landed in the stick of Deven Alves. It would leave his stick one last time as he found the back of the net on his own at 2:56 to lock up a improbable 18-17 overtime victory and send Mercyhurst to the NCAA Division II National Championship Game for the second time in three seasons.

Rich led the way on offense for the Saints with six points on three goals and three assists but it was Ternosky that gave the ball to that potent offense. On the day, he won 28-of-39 faceoffs and picked up a career-high 17 groundballs while adding a goal and an assist. He topped his career-best for groundballs by six, surpassing the 11 he had earlier this year against Merrimack on March 9.

Among those that benefited from Ternosky's work at the center “X” were Nakasuji who delivered four goals and senior midfielder Tor Reinholdt (Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada) who finished with a pair of goals and two assists. Loewen notched three scores and an assist and Reinholdt added seven groundballs. Reid Reinholdt had a pair of scores and an assist. Senior goalkeeper Christian Dzwilewski (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) played all 61:04 and made 13 saves while allowing 18 goals to suffer the loss.

Two teams not known for giving up a great deal of goals certainly reinforced that perception throughout the first quarter. Three minutes in, Mercyhurst's Jake McAndrew got the Lakers on the board with an unassisted score at 11:59 before Kyle Rhatigan tied it at 1-1 with an unassisted score of his own at 9:07. From there, both club's defense would step up as neither team found the back of the net over the next 7:47. That stretch would be broken by the Laker's Deven Alves who made it 2-1 with 1:20 remaining in the quarter.

After closing out the frame with that narrow margin and just three total goals between the teams, the second quarter proved to be nothing like the first. With 7:28 on the clock, Limestone's Corey Rich took it himself to knot the score at 2-2. That would be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of scoring as the flood gates opened, first on the Mercyhurst side.

Just 17 seconds later, MU's Brian Scheetz kicked off a run of three goals in a span of 2:06 as he converted off a pass from Brady Heseltine to make it 3-2 at the 7:11 mark. Nearly two minutes later he would have a hand in the second goal of that stretch as he assisted on Zac Reid's goal at 5:15 for a two goal lead. It would be three in the next nine seconds as faceoff man Mitch McAvoy won the ensuing faceoff and raced down the field for the third goal to make it 5-2 at the 5:06 mark.

It would then be the Saints turn to light up the scoreboard and did they ever, thanks in large part to Corey Rich. The senior attack found Tor Reinholdt at 3:09, assisted on a Riley Loewen goal that saw him put it in behind his back at the 2:34 mark before finally taking it himself for the third straight score, this coming at 1:28 to tie the game at 5-5. That three goal run came in a span of just 1:41 and would eventually send the teams to the break deadlocked.

The time of goals being at a premium continued to be distant in the rearview mirror as it took all of 3:07 for the Lakers James Chayka to find the back of the net and make it 6-5 at the beginning of the third. That score would be just a speed bump to the Limestone offense as they once again drilled home three in a row, this time in just 44 seconds.

Cummings rifled in his 33rd of the season at 9:44 and was quickly followed by Loewen, off a faceoff assist from Ternosky, just five seconds later while Reid Reinholdt converted off a pass from senior midfielder Connor DeVoe (East Rockaway, N.Y.) to take an 8-6 advantage. That stretch gave the Saints six of the last seven goals.

In what quickly became a game of runs, Mercyhurst took very little time to answer back as Reid scored at 8:31 and was followed at 7:15 by Heseltine for a man-up goal that tied the game at 8-8. Loewen broke the stalemate with his 54th of the season for a 9-8 lead with 7:04 left in the quarter before Reid drilled another goal for the Lakers, this one at 4:07, to lock it back up at 9-9. As had been the case for most of the day, it would not stay that way for long. Tor Reinholdt and Reid traded goals just minutes later to keep the score tied with 1:51 left in the period before Corey Rich found Todd Nakasuji for an 11-10 lead 26 seconds later.

Yet another Zac Reid goal knotted the score at 11-11 but it would be Ternosky who initiated another Limestone offensive outburst. Off his face off win he got the ball to Rich who quickly found Nakasuji directly in front of the net for lacrosse's version of a hockey one-timer, giving them a 12-11 advantage that they would take into the fourth period.

Score and equalizer would continue to be the order of the day as Mercyhurst tied the game at 12-12 as McAndrew found the back of the net at the 11:05 mark of the fourth. Once again, it would not stay that way – this time for just five seconds. That's all it took for Ternosky to win the faceoff, charge down field and deposit his third goal of the year into the back of the cage for a 13-12 advantage.

With 10:48 on the clock, the Lakers Zac Reid exploded for his sixth goal of the game, once again deadlocking a pair of clubs giving everything they had for the right to play for a national championship. Following that goal, Todd Nakasuji took over as he scored at 10:23 off a pass from Rich and then broke the string of one goal margins with a second consecutive goal, this one coming at 10:08 off a pass from Reid Reinholdt.

That set the stage for a wild finish in what is certainly an instant classic in terms of NCAA Division II National Semfinals.

Zac Reid fueled the Mercyhurst offensive attack with seven goals on 10 shots on goal while Brian Scheetz finished with a goal and six assists. McAndrew and Alves each had three scores and James Chayka netted two goals and an assist. Michael Grace played all 61:04 and allowed 17 scores while making 12 saves to pick up the hard fought victory.

Limestone concludes its season with a 16-2 overall record, perfect 6-0 Conference Carolinas record, a regular season league title, conference tournament championship and 14th straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament, currently longest streak of its kind.