Eastern Connecticut vs. Plymouth State
April 7, 2007
The Game Story:
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Men’s lacrosse team scored the final two goals of the match and clung to the lead over the final eight minutes to post a 12-11 Little East Conference men’s lacrosse victory over Plymouth State University Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field

Last year’s conference regular-season and playoff champion, Eastern (5-5, 3-0 little east) survived a match which featured four ties and three lead changes to remain undefeated at Nevers Field in seven years of conference play. Eastern improved to 48-2 in conference regular-season and playoff competition in defeating Plymouth (3-3, 1-1 little east) for the 15th time in this 17-game series.

It is Eastern's second one-goal win over a conference opponent in four days as the Warriors remain undefeated (3-0) in matches decided by a single goal this year.

Plymouth erased a three-goal deficit in the third period by scoring five in a row in the frame – three by freshman Kyle Belanger and took a one-goal lead into the final period. Trailing 11-10 early in the final frame, Eastern tied the match for the final time on senior midfielder Kyle MacDonald’s (Hamden, CT) only goal with 10:10 left, then scored the final, game-winning goal with 7:43 on the clock. Junior attack Tyler Prescott’s (Norwalk, CT) only goal of the match was an extra-man opportunity and came on a pass from junior midfielder Pete Hamilton (Rutland, VT). Prescott’s winning goal came just 16 seconds after Eastern senior attack Dave Carpenter (Redding, CT) hit the post.

The Warriors tried to run out the clock in the final minutes but lost possession, the Panthers regaining the ball with an opportunity to force overtime with just over two minutes left, However, Eastern first-year sophomore Mike Silvestrini (Guilford, CT) forced a turnover as Plymouth was setting up its offense, and scooped up his fifth ground ball. With just under a minute left, the Panthers again regained possession inside their defensive zone, but commited a penalty after the ball was knocked free and the Warriors ran out the clock in an extra-man situation.

Plymouth senior goalie Steve Valeri kept his team in contention by making 19 saves, but it was a save by Eastern sophomore goalie Kyle Savage (Southington, CT) which may have saved the Warriors. With Eastern trailing 11-10 with 11 minutes left, Plymouth junior attack Adam Krinsky received a pass at midfield and headed unmarked toward the goal. Savage made the save, however, to keep the Eastern deficit at one goal. MacDonald’s tying game followed less than a minute later.

Eastern’s most important goal, other than the game-winner, may have come with the Warriors trailing by two goals in the final seconds of the third period. Plymouth had taken that two-goal lead with 34 seconds left, but sophomore midfielder DJ Simmons (Mystic, CT) answered by faking a charge, then burying a waist-high shot with four seconds left in the period. Simmons then tied the match 55 seconds into the fourth period on a pass from Prescott.

Having struggled all season on extra-man opportunities, Eastern converted three of four against Plymouth.

Simmons unloaded 15 of Eastern’s 52 shots, matching Hamilton with three goals. Junior defenseman Jon Snedeker (Southington, CT) came up with nine ground balls, senior midfielder Patrick Bushnell (Southington, CT) collecting six, with Silvestrini next with his five.

Plymouth was paced by three freshmen: Belanger, attack Wes Downing and midfielder Matt Johansmeyer. The trio combined for eight goals, with Johansmeyer adding two assists.

Senior defenseman Tim Vasconcellos had five ground balls for Plymouth, senior midfielder Nick Duffy, junior long-stick Mike Russell and freshman long-stick Derick Smith adding four each.

Eastern visits Massachusetts Dartmouth Thursday at 4 p.m. in a Little East Conference match.