Saint Lawrence vs. Skidmore
May 6, 2007
The Game Story:
May 6: The No. 6 St. Lawrence University men’s lacrosse team routed Skidmore College in the Liberty League Championship game by the score of 16-3 on Sunday afternoon. Senior goaltender Justin Demuth, who was named the 2007 Liberty League “Player of the Year” on Thursday, made 14 saves and led the Scarlet and Brown (14-1, 6-0) to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.

The Saints continued their balance attack on both offense and defense, as fifteen different players collected at least one point for St. Lawrence as the team won their 18 th straight game at North Country Field.

“I am very proud of these guys and what they have done so far this season,” said Saints head coach Mike Mahoney. “We’ve gotten great leadership from our seniors and we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. Getting off to a quick lead really got us jump-started.”

The lead Coach Mahoney was the 5-0 lead his team compiled less than a minute into the second quarter. The Saints, who hosted the Liberty League Tournament after going 6-0 in conference play in the regular season, scored four goals in the opening quarter while Demuth kept the Thoroughbreds off the board.

Senior midfielder Brendan Lynch scored his first of four goals 2:53 into the game when he picked up a turnover from Skidmore goalie John Capitani in the offensive zone and, with the netminder out of his cage, fired the ball into the open net for the 1-0 lead.

Senior Willie Lapinski and junior Kevin Russell would complete the first quarter scoring with three goals in a span of 3:26 to bring the lead to 4-0. Lapinski, a native of Canton , NY , made a great move to the middle of the field after taking a pass from junior Brian Chamberlain and ripped a shot into the upper-left portion of the goal.

Russell would then follow with back-to-back goals only 24 seconds apart to complete the first quarter scoring. The Madison , CT native put St. Lawrence ahead 3-0 when Demuth fired a long pass down field that bounced between Skidmore’s defenders and to Russell, who was all alone for a one-on-one with Capitani. Though the goaltender tried to challenge, Russell’s shot found the net and gave his team a 3-0 edge. He would then take a pass from junior Ben Prime only seconds later and beat Capitani again for the 4-0 cushion.

Skidmore had several chances in the opening quarter to get on the board, but Demuth and his defensive unit in front of him were too much for the Thoroughbreds. Their constant pressuring of the ball created six turnovers, and Demuth added five key saves to keep his opponents off the scoreboard.

The Saints only took 18 seconds into the second to extend their lead to 5-0 when Prime scored his lone goal of the day after Chamberlain found him wide open to Capitani’s right in transition off the face-off.

Skidmore’s Rob Lutin would finally get the visitors on the board at 2:23 of the second frame after taking a pass from Joe Tynan and beating Demuth from the right side. The Thoroughbreds then had another great chance to cut into the deficit less than a minute later when Nick Coppola had a breakaway chance on the Saints goalie. However, the Jordan, NY native held his ground and turned back Skidmore’s sophomore attack to keep the score at 5-1.

The rest of the quarter belonged to the Saints, as they ran off three consecutive goals to re-assert themselves before the end of the half. Senior Nick Mastine got into the scoring at 4:47 with an unassisted tally, and his goal was followed by sophomore Alex Slauson’s only goal of the afternoon. Finally, the Liberty League’s “Co-Rookie of the Year” Will McKee scored on his fellow award winner Capitani to end the first half scoring at 8-1 when he rifled a shot into the goal with only 54 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Saints defensive efforts were outstanding, as the combination of seniors JJ Hearty and Brian Crowley, junior Ben Buskey and sophomore Carl Festa used double teams to wreak havoc when Skidmore had the ball in the offensive zone. They did well to allow Demuth to see the Thoroughbreds’ shots on goal, as he finished with nine saves in the first half.

Junior Mike Long and Lynch would open the second half scoring to take St. Lawrence’s lead to 10-1 with 8:30 to play in the third quarter. Though Coppola and Cory Barkoff scored goals only 37 seconds apart to make the score 10-3 at the 5:23 mark, sophomore midfielder PJ Santora won a face-off, cut through Skidmore’s defense and found fellow classmate Nick Stefans who buried a shot to complete the scoring in the quarter with St. Lawrence comfortably ahead, 11-3.

The Saints relentless attack continued in the fourth quarter, as they out-scored Skidmore 5-0 in the final fifteen minutes to run the table in the Liberty League and earn the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. McKee, Lynch (2) and junior Derek Hansen (2) collected the five goals in the quarter with assists coming from Slauson, sophomores Peter Carroll and Collin Moon, and rookie John Manning.

“I think our discipline on both sides of the ball was very important today,” added Coach Mahoney. “Because we only took two penalties, we were able to keep them from gaining momentum. Our home crowd was great and we’re excited to play in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.”

Demuth finished with 14 saves in 55:13 minutes of action, while Capitani closed with 10 saves for Skidmore. St. Lawrence held a 43-25 advantage in shots and scooped up 33 ground balls to the Thoroughbreds’ 22.

The 2007 NCAA Tournament field and bracket will be announced live on CSTV tonight at 9:00pm . The Saints hope their 14-1 overall mark and twelve consecutive wins could earn them a home game in the tournament, as the Scarlet and Brown have not lost at North Country Field since April 16 th, 2005. As soon as information becomes available about the tournament, it will be posted at both and