Saint Lawrence vs. Clarkson
April 16, 2008
The Game Story:

April 16: The North Country’s biggest rivalry took to the lacrosse field on Wednesday afternoon, as No. 12 St. Lawrence University hosted No. 18 Clarkson with sole possession of first place in the Liberty League standings on the line. In the first meeting since 2002 with both teams ranked in the national polls, the Saints jumped out to an 11-1 lead and held on for an 11-8 victory over the Golden Knights to improve to 7-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in conference play.

Clarkson simply couldn’t dig out of the 10-goal deficit despite outplaying the Scarlet and Brown in the fourth quarter, falling to 7-3 (3-1) in 2008. The visitors received gritty performances from goaltender Greg Lamb, who made 11 stops to keep his team in the game in the second half, and Greg Gibbons who tallied a game-high six points.

St. Lawrence wasted little time in asserting itself early in the first quarter, as sophomore Will McKee took a pass from junior Peter Carroll and beat Lamb for a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game. Junior Alex Slauson would make it 2-0 only 1:51 later on an unassisted goal, while McKee and Carroll would hook up again at 6:17 for a 3-0 cushion.

After Clarkson’s Jon Cathcart solved St. Lawrence junior goalie Thomas Hollingsworth to make it a 3-1 game, Slauson and Carroll would score consecutive unassisted goals only 1:32 apart to close the first quarter scoring and give the home team a 5-1 lead.

St. Lawrence continued to tack on to their lead, though much of the credit would go to their defensive unit, which caused 10 first half turnovers and allowed only four shots on Hollingsworth in the opening 30 minutes of action. Their outstanding effort allowed the offense to go to work, building an 8-1 halftime lead.

Second quarter goals came from senior Ben Prime, who used a quick turn move to shake a defender in front of the cage and beat Lamb, McKee and Carroll. The Saints boasted a 20-4 lead in shots at the half and scooped up 24 ground balls to Clarkson’s seven.

St. Lawrence continued to cruise early in the third quarter, picking up three goals to take an 11-1 advantage. Carroll scored 1:10 into the quarter, while McKee added his fourth of the game on a man-down goal at 3:29. Prime would complete his team’s scoring with 8:39 remaining in the third on an unassisted goal, his eighth of the season.

Clarkson’s began to chip away at the Saints’ lead late in the third quarter thanks to hard work on the offensive end of the field and great play between the pipes from Lamb. Tom Ross scored back-to-back goals only 36 seconds apart to make it an 11-3 game, and Gibbons picked up his first goal to close the quarter to make it 11-4.

The visitors continued to pounce on St. Lawrence’s mistakes, and made a run at the lead in the fourth quarter. Brian Hoey took a pass from Matt Opar and scored at 3:58 of the final quarter, while Gibbons added a man-up goal with 8:53 left in regulation.

Though Gibbons would tack on two more goals in the final four minutes, the Golden Knights’ deficit was simply too big to climb out of, as the Saints held on for an 11-8 victory.

“Clarkson is a very talented team, and though we got the better of them in the first half, we knew they would make a run,” said Saints’ head coach Mike Mahoney. “I’m proud of the way we responded after a tight game with Rensselaer, and we’ll start preparing for another tough conference game on Saturday against Union.”

St. Lawrence received a solid performance from midfielder P.J. Santora, who won 15-of-21 face-offs and scooped up a team-high nine ground balls. The Saints closed with a 31-17 advantage in shots and a 38-18 lead in ground balls. Hollingsworth improved to 7-2 on the season with a six-save performance, while Lamb fell to 7-3 despite making 11 stops.

The Saints will play their final regular season home game on Saturday, April 19 against Union College at 12:00pm. With a victory against the Dutchmen, the Scarlet and Brown will clinch the top seed in the 2008 Liberty League Tournament.