UNE Holds off Late Charge by Colby for Victory

BIDDEFORD, Maine -- The University of New England survived a three-goal surge by Colby College in the last six minutes to earn a 7-6 non-conference men's lacrosse victory on Tuesday (Apr. 2) at the Big Blue Turf.

The win was Big Blue's first over an opponent from the NESCAC in program history (0-10 previously). After seeing their four-game win streak snapped the last time out, the Nor'easters now move to 7-3 on the season. The Mules slip back to 4-4 overall.

UNE held a 7-3 cushion for a stretch of nearly 19 minutes over the remainder of the 3rd quarter and start of the 4th, before Colby sophomore Chip Grossman (Charlottesville, Va.) found the back of the cage. The Nor'easters had kept the visiting side scoreless for more than 31 minutes of action prior to the goal.

The Mules continued to apply pressure in the attacking zone, and tallied a pair of goals just 17 seconds apart (1:26, 1:09) to pull within one (7-6). Senior Keith Fairbrother (Madison, N.J.) and sophomore John Grimaldi (Manchester, Mass.) were credited with the goals.

Shots were 13-4 in favor of Colby during the final frame, after the Mules had been out-shot by five (20-15) over the initial 45 minutes.

Colby lost the ensuing face-off but managed to regain possession and fired off a shot to tie with 25 ticks left. Big Blue senior netminder Jay Letendre (Southington, Conn.) deflected the attempt just wide and UNE was able to finish the win with no other threats.

Letendre ended with seven saves, and received strong support from the defensive unit in front of him. The Nor'easters forced 13 of the 21 Colby turnovers in the contest, with five coming from classmate Nick McMahon (Westfield, Mass.).

Including games through March 31, McMahon led all players in Division III in caused turnovers per game (4.22).

The offensive attack was balanced for UNE, as six different players made it into the scoring column. First-year Sam Cloutier (Lewiston, Maine) led the way with two, while seniors Tyler Thomas (Mount Pleasant, N.Y.) and Brent Bourgeois (New Haven, Vt.) and juniors Dan O'Gorman (Putnam Valley, N.Y.), Mike Allan (Billerica, Mass.), and Nick Gross (Kennebunk, Maine) each had one. Bourgeois registered his first goal of the year to give the hosts the lead for good (3-2) in the early stages of the 2nd frame.

Following the opening score of the game by Allan, the Mules had a 2-1 edge after 15 minutes on goals by junior James Wyse (Newton, Mass.) and senior Ian Deveau (Portsmouth, R.I.).

Gross began the 2nd stanza by tying things up for Big Blue, and then found Bourgeois alone in front just over a minute later (9:35) to move UNE in front. Cloutier netted his first of the match before Colby senior Garth Franklin (Fayetteville, N.Y.) wrapped up the first-half scoring (4-3 in favor of UNE), and the teams played almost the last seven minutes with that margin.

The Nor'easters extended the gap right out of the halftime break, as Thomas finished off a feed from Allan. UNE took advantage of a man-up situation when Cloutier struck again, and O'Gorman -- who had assisted on Cloutier's tally -- made the difference four (7-3) with 9:14 to go the 3rd quarter.

Colby senior Bjorn Knutson (Bloomington, Minn.) played an impressive game in the midfield, taking 11 of 15 face-offs to go with a game-high eight ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers. Between the pipes for the Mules, junior Peter Reiley (Marblehead, Mass.) (36 minutes, 7 goals against) and sophomore Tyler Will (Woodbury, N.Y.) (24 minutes, 0 goals against) each made five stops.

UNE resumes Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action on Saturday (2:30 p.m.) with a visit to Nichols College. Colby travels to NESCAC-foe Wesleyan University the same day (1:00 p.m.).


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