Franklin Pierce Fends off SNHU to Win NE-10 Opener

RINDGE, N.H. (March 17, 2012) -- Franklin Pierce fended off a late Southern New Hampshire surge and pulled away for a thrilling 8-4 win over the Penmen in the Northeast-10 opener for both teams at Sodexo Field in Rindge on Saturday. The Ravens improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the NE-10, while SNHU dipped to 0-3 and 0-1 in league play.

Sophomore attackman Eddie Noonan (Foxboro, Mass.) and freshman attacker Kevin Dargin (Littleton, Mass.) each pumped in three goals for the Ravens, while senior midfielder Ryan Dintaman (Northfield, Mass.) notched two assists for a two-point afternoon.

Freshman goalie Don Denman (Exeter, N.H.) got the start in net and made nine saves to pick up the win and run his record to 2-1 on the year. Denman benefited from some outstanding defensive work from the Raven defenders, including senior Alex Whitney (Stratham, N.H.), who came up with six caused turnovers against his former team. Whitney entered the game leading the league with nine caused turnovers and now stands at 15 in just three games this season.

Freshman middie Cody MacLellan (Keene, N.H.) and sophomore Alex Connolly (West Newbury, Mass.) each logged a goal for Franklin Pierce. For MacLellan, it marked the first marker of his collegiate career.

Jeremy Buckley put in two tallies for the Penmen, who also got a goal apiece from Ryan Woodford and Corey Allen.

Buckley's second goal of the game and Woodford's lone marker bridged the third and fourth quarters and pulled the Penmen to within a goal at 5-4 with 11:38 left in the game. Southern New Hampshire's surge came after Franklin Pierce had dominated for a majority of the game, including scoring five of the first six tallies.

SNHU continued to pick up the intensity and had an opportunity to knot the score at the 9:38 mark when Greg Reynolds fired a shot on net. Denman, though, got his paddle on the shot and quickly sent the ball back up the field for a successful clearing attempt for the Ravens.

Franklin Pierce patiently ran its offensive set and was able to catch SNHU off guard as Dintaman fed a pass to Connolly, who juked by a defender and threw a strike to the upper-right corner of the goal to give the Ravens a 6-4 lead with 8:07 to go and stem the Penmen's tide.

The Ravens struck just :29 later when sophomore Eric Vincens (Ellington, Conn.) won the ensuing faceoff, scooped up the ground ball, raced down the field and slid a pass to MacLellan, who worked his away around a defender into the front of the net and got a shot past the SNHU goalie, Brendan O'Brien, to make it 7-4.

Franklin Pierce capped the scoring and put the game out of reach 1:13 later when senior Jimmy McInnis (Amherst, N.H.) sent a pass to Dargin from behind the net, and the freshman attacker fired a shot that was initially saved by O'Brien, but the rebound popped up in the air and Dargin was able to swat it into the back of the net to make it 8-4.

The Ravens shut down SNHU's bid for a comeback the rest of the way. Whitney caused two turnovers in the final minutes and Denman came up with one more big stop to keep the Penmen at bay.

The win marked Franklin Pierce's first victory over SNHU in 15 tries in the series' history. The Ravens came into the game ranked No. 5 in the latest New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division II Poll, marking the third-straight season Franklin Pierce was ranked at some point in the region.

The Ravens got the scoring started a little more than four minutes into the game when Noonan picked up an unassisted marker. Buckley answered two minutes later with a goal, but Dargin threw in consecutive strikes in the final minutes of the frame to give Franklin Pierce a 3-1 advantage heading into the second. Senior Brendan Cahill (Hollis, N.H.) assisted on Dargin's first goal and Dintaman notched his first helper of the game on Dargin's second tally.

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