Nichols vs. Anna Maria
April 16, 2012
The Game Story:
DUDLEY, Mass. (April 16) –The Nichols College men's lacrosse team fended off a late comeback attempt from visiting Anna Maria College to defeat the AMCATS, 12-11, in a non-conference game at Vendetti Field Monday evening. Led by four goals and a pair of assists from sophomore Brian Girard, the Bison won their third game in a row and improve to 6-7 on the year with the most wins since the 2004 season. Anna Maria sees its three-game win streak snapped and evens out at 7-7.

Girard led three Bison players with multiple-point games, including a five-point effort from Macaulay Gillis, who had two goals and three assists. Zac Smith added a goal and a helper.

Joshua Smith had a five-point night for the AMCATS with two goals and a team-high three assists, while Chris Summers scored three goals. Mike Saulnier scored twice and assisted another tally; Blake Simpson had a goal and a helper, and Grant Pilkington completed the all-around effort with a pair of goals.

Defenseman Elwin McCarthy scored his first collegiate goal off the Bison's second possession of the game, carrying the ball the length of the field before shooting from outside for a 1-0 lead. Anna Maria answered back twice in a four minute span to take the lead before Girard potted his first of the game at 6:09.

Smith won the ensuing faceoff – he was 12 of 20 on the night – and carried the ball down for a 3-2 AMCATS lead nine seconds later, but Gillis and Bane sniped goals less than a minute apart late in the frame to give Nichols a 4-3 lead at the end of the quarter.

Saulnier evened it up within the first 30 seconds of the second stanza, but Smith gave the Bison back the lead off a Gillis feed just over a minute later and Girard outworked a defender for an unassisted score at the 11:37 mark to cap the half's scoring.

Smith won the opening faceoff of the second half, feeding Summers for his 29th goal of the season to cut the Bison's lead to one, 6-5, but Nichols rattled off three goals in the remainder of the quarter to hold a 9-5 lead headed to the final frame.

The Bison extended their lead to five with a quick netfront strike from Peter Sorenson to start the fourth, but Anna Maria mounted its comeback with a 6-3 scoring advantage in the frame.

Pilkington got things started with an unassisted strike at the 14:19 mark, and Peterson followed five minutes later to make it 10-7, Nichols. Gillis found Liam Sullivan to extend the Bison's lead back to three shortly after, but the AMCATS took advantage of Nichols' first penalty of the game to pot a man-up goal from Summers with 6:10 to go.

Girard gave Nichols back a four-goal cushion with 4:02 to play, but the AMCATS were relentless, scoring three goals in the final 2:36.

Simpson made it 12-9 at 2:36 before Smith sent a cross-net pass to Saulnier for a man-up goal with 1:26 to play. AMC finished the night 2-2 on man-up. Smith followed a pair of errant AMC shots with an unassisted strike with 42 seconds left on the clock, making it 12-11 in favor of the Bison.

Nichols won the final faceoff, but turned it over to the AMCATS, who quickly brought it downfield. Pilkington made one last shot attempt, but was thwarted by Bison goalkeeper Scott Gray and defenseman Ryan Flavin was there for the groundball pickup. Nichols' clear attempt wasn't good, but Anna Maria didn't have time to make one final push.

Gray finished with 17 saves in the win, while Andrew Ellis (Fitchburg, Mass.) made 10 stops in the loss.
Nichols hosts Endicott Saturday at 2:30 p.m. for its Commonwealth Coast Conference finale and Senior Day. Anna Maria travels to Norwich Wednesday for a 4 p.m. Great Northeast Athletic Conference matchup.