Nichols vs. Univ Of New England
April 25, 2009
The Game Story:
DUDLEY, Mass. – The University of New England men’s lacrosse team inked its playoff spot in The Commonwealth Coast Conference post season with a 13-8 victory over Nichols College Saturday afternoon at Vendetti Field. The Nor’easters scored four unanswered fourth-quarter goals to break open what had been a close game to finish the regular season with a 6-9 overall record and a 2-7 TCCC mark. Nichols wraps up is year with three more wins than a year before at 4-10 and a 1-8 record in TCCC games.

Luke DiFiore led UNE with four points on three goals and an assist, while Dan Leyden and Michael Pennacchio each picked up three points with two goals an assist.

Tim Ahern (Boca Raton, Fla.) paced the Bison with four points on three goals and an assist, while Ryan Pacific (Danbury, Conn.) added a goal and a pair of assists for three points.

Joe Bussiere put the visiting team up first at 12:18 of the opening quarter, but Ahern knotted the game less than two minutes later.

Brian Gattie (Plainfield, N.H.) gave the Bison the lead with just under four minutes to play in the opening frame, but it was the last time Nichols would hold the lead in the game as the Nor’easters rattled off two-straight goals to end the quarter and the Bison were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the game.

DiFiore and Steve Smith gave UNE a 5-3 lead with goals to open the second quarter before Bison scores from Pacific and Michael Farragher (Worcester, Mass.) brought the home team within one with 4:20 left in the quarter. Leyden struck with just 37 seconds left in the second to give UNE a two-goal cushion, 6-4, headed into halftime.

Ahern scored early into the second half and then fed Garrett Hill (Braintree, Mass) on a transition play to knot the game with 5:13 left in the third quarter, but the Nor’easters scored three-straight goals to take a 9-6 lead.

Nichols goalkeeper Scott Gray (Annapolis, Md.) brought the ball all the way downfield to feed Pete Cramer (Hanover, Mass.) with 23 seconds left to bring the Bison within two at 7-9, and Ahern opened the final quarter with his third goal of the day, but the Nor’easters struck four times in the final five minutes to put the game out of reach.

Smith recorded a man-up tally at 5:39 and 15 seconds later DiFiore connected with Thomas for an 11-8 lead. Pennacchio and DiFiore capped the scoring for the five-goal victory.

Gray made 24 saves in the loss, while UNE starter Nate Porter stopped 12 shots in 57 minutes of action before giving way to Andy Briggs for the final three minutes. Briggs made four saves.

UNE will travel to the top seed for the TCCC quarterfinals Tuesday.