Saint Lawrence vs. Western New England
May 10, 2008
The Game Story:
May 10: Western New England College’s Jon Hayes scored six goals in the first half while goaltender Chris Body made 12 saves as the Golden Bears defeated the St. Lawrence University men’s lacrosse team 13-9 in the Second Round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament at North Country Field on Saturday afternoon. It is the second consecutive season WNEC has advanced to the National Quarterfinals, while the Saints bow out of the national tournament in the Second Round for the second straight season.

The Golden Bears, who improved to 15-4 on the season with the win, advance to face Ithaca College while the Saints’ season comes to a close with a final record of 11-3.

Though both teams got off to shaky starts which included several turnovers each way, it was the visiting team that would score the first goal on 90 second man-up chance. Hayes took a long pass from Scott Kukis to the right of St. Lawrence netminder Thomas Hollingsworth and buried a shot for his first of the game.

Junior Kyle Benton would tie the score only 1:14 later when sophomore Will McKee hit him with a crossing pass in front of Body. However, a great save by Body only minutes later would lead to a man-down goal in transition for Brody Savoie at 10:38. Hayes would then wrap around the net 2:21 later and use a low shot to fool Hollingsworth and put WNEC up 3-1.

Junior Peter Carroll would answer for the Saints with an unassisted goal to cut his team’s deficit in half. McKee set a pick for Carroll on the right side of the cage, and the attackman used the screen to loop around the goal and score the final goal of the first quarter with 23 seconds remaining to pull St. Lawrence to within a goal at 3-2.

The second quarter, though, would belong to Hayes and the Golden Bears, as they scored five times to take a three-goal advantage into halftime. Hayes made it 4-2 as he used a fantastic move to elude a defender and free up a one-on-one with Hollingsworth. McKee seemed to get the home team rolling with back-to-back goals only 47 seconds apart to tie the game at 4-4, but Hayes gave WNEC a lead they wouldn’t relinquish at 5-4 with a bouncing shot at 6:33 of the second quarter.

With St. Lawrence’s defensive doing all they could to limit Hayes’ touches, it freed up Tim Santye on a man-up chance at 7:19 to beat Hollingsworth and give the Golden Bears a 6-4 lead. On the ensuing face-off, Carroll took a long outlet pass and found himself on a free one-on-one chance with Body. However, the goaltender stood his ground, made the save and kept WNEC ahead by two.

After Hayes and junior Alex Slauson exchanged goals at 9:52 and 10:13 of the second quarter, Hayes fittingly put the finishing touches on an incredible first half by completing the scoring with 1:58 on the clock to put the Golden Bears ahead 8-5 at the half.

St. Lawrence hoped to get some momentum on their side when sophomore Scott Smith scored an unassisted goal 4:53 into the third quarter to pull the Scarlet and Brown back to within two at 8-6. However, they would never get closer, as Bryan Cofrin and Tim Heffernan scored goals for WNEC only 22 seconds apart for a 10-6 advantage.

Despite Slauson’s best effort, ripping a shot past Body at 11:37 to pull to within three again, Cofrin delivered a crucial goal as he tucked the ball between Hollingsworth and the near post with only 9.1 seconds remaining in the quarter for an 11-7 lead.

Kukis took advantage of a man-up chance only 37 seconds into the fourth quarter, putting the visiting team ahead by five goals, their largest margin of the game. Though Slauson added his third goal only 1:10 later, Hayes once again took over as he backed down a St. Lawrence defender, turned and fired a shot past Hollingsworth for his seventh and final goal of the day which all but punched WNEC’s ticket to the national quarterfinals.

Senior Ben Prime did keep St. Lawrence’s hopes alive in the final minutes of the game with a goal at 11:51 to pull the Saints to within four goals at 13-9. However, the Golden Bears’ defense, anchored by Steve Toomy and Jared Pabis, shut down the Saints’ offensive chances and ran out the clock to set up a date with Ithaca College on Wednesday, May 14.

“I thought Western New England played a fantastic game. They’re a very well-coached team and they were able to take away Will (McKee) in the second half,” said Saints’ head coach Mike Mahoney. “They play a much faster style of play, and if you get into a run-and-gun game with them, you’re going to get in trouble.”

The Golden Bears finished with an impressive mark in clears, 21-of-23, while their pressure in the midfield stifled St. Lawrence, which finished 16-of-23. Though the Saints led in shots (36-30), ground balls (34-30) and face-offs (15-of-25), a 1-for-7 showing with man-up chances compared to WNEC’s 4-of-8 did in the home team.

“I can’t say enough about this team and the leadership we’ve gotten this season from our seniors,” added Mahoney, whose team fell to Cortland State last season in the NCAA Tournament. “This group is a great group of players, leaders and gentlemen that have represented our program to the highest extent.”

WNEC extended their winning streak to eight games, while snapping St. Lawrence’s 11-game run. Body’s 12-save performance moved his record to 12-5 on the season, while Hollingsworth, who made five saves in the contest, falls to 11-3.