Merrimack Holds off Bentley to Advance in NE-10 Playoffs

WALTHAM, Mass. – Fifth-seeded Merrimack withstood a late fourth quarter rally from fourth-seeded Bentley as they hung on for a 10-9 win in the Northeast-10 men's lacrosse quarterfinals Tuesday night.

The Falcons were down 10-7 after sophomore Corey Lunney scored at the 9:51 mark of the fourth. But they made it a two-goal game with 5:53 remaining after junior Richard Travers (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) scored man-up goal with two Merrimack players in the box.

The teams traded possessions for the next four minutes, until Bentley converted a Merrimack turnover into a goal by junior Brendan Grant (Walpole, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) with 44 seconds left.

The ensuing face-off took place between Merrimack's Nick Maggio and Bentley's Collin O'Shea (Victor, N.Y./Victor). The ball found its way into Merrimack's defensive end as the team's battled for the ground ball, all the while precious seconds ticked off the clock. Defenseman Peter Schielke finally came up with it for the Warriors with 24 seconds left, but as they were trying to run the clock out, goalie Connor Reagan was called for an illegal screen.

That gave Bentley the ball back with just 2.4 seconds left, and after a timeout, senior Jared Kinch (Cohasset, Mass./BC High) launched a hail mary shot from the sideline that Reagan saved to end the game.

That fourth quarter rally was the second of the night for the Falcons, who clawed their way back into the game after trailing 6-2 early in the second quarter.

Bentley scored three of the next four goals in a five-minute span, including a man-up goal by Travers. Grant finished the flourish with a goal at the 8:04 mark to make the score 7-5, and that was the last goal of the half.

Senior Steve Murray (Billerica, Mass./Billerica) scored out of halftime to keep the momentum going for Bentley, but his goal was quickly answered back by Lunney. However, Murray scored the quarter's only other goal with 3:40 left to make it 9-8 going into the fourth.

Merrimack though wouldn't let Bentley get any closer, as junior Brad McAdam scored at the 13:41 mark and Lunney did the same with 9:51 left.

Merrimack perhaps would have more goals if not for the efforts of senior goalie Mike O'Neil (Marblehead, Mass./Marblehead), who made a season-high 18 saves. Reagan made 12 saves to earn the win.

Bentley's season ends at 7-7, while Merrimack improves to 10-5. They'll face top-seed Le Moyne on Friday in the semifinals.

* * * *

WALTHAM, MA – Behind four goals and five points from Corey Lunney (Little Silver, NJ), Merrimack advanced to its fourth-straight semifinal defeating the third-seed Bentley University 10-9 Tuesday night in the Northeast-10 Quarterfinals.

Merrimack (10-5) will head to Syracuse to take on top-seed Le Moyne Friday in the Northeast-10 Semifinals. Merrimack defeated the Dolphins in overtime last season in the NE-10 Championship, before Le Moyne edged the Warriors 6-4 in April in North Andover.

The Warriors came out flying, taking a 5-1 lead 10:18 into the game behind two man-advantage goals from Lunney and single goals from Brad McAdam (Neshanic Station, NJ), Mike Perdie (Wading River, NY) and Paul Jones (Guilderland, NY).

“Lunney shot the ball really well in the game,” said head coach Mike Morgan. “He gave them matchup issues all night long and did a great job of creating scoring chances for others.”

But the Falcons rallied, scoring four of the final six goals in the first half to cut Merrimack's lead to two at 7-5 at halftime.

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