No. 2 Mercyhurst Escapes with Win in Opener at Mars Hill

MARS HILL, N.C. - No. 2 Mercyhurst won, 10-7, at Mars Hill Saturday afternoon. Seniors Jake McAndrew and Brady Heseltine each scored three goals to lead the Lakers to a non-conference win to open the 2014 season.

Mercyhurst led, 5-4, at halftime. In the third quarter, neither team could find the back of the net until late in the period. Goalies Michael Grace and Patrick McMahon each recorded three saves to keep the offenses off the board. Jimmy McBride finally evened the score with 2:31 to play in the third.

Mitch McAvoy won the ensuing faceoff and sprinted in for a goal just 10 seconds after the Lions tied the match. After another faceoff win, Brett Williams assisted on McAndrew's third goal of the day with 39 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Early in the fourth, Cory Becker found Trevor Vargo for a goal and an 8-5 advantage. The Lakers stretched their lead with a Heseltine man-up score with 9:48 to go. After two Mars Hill goals, freshman John Plaskey sealed the decision with a goal at the 3:21 mark.

McAndrew and Heseltine, who combined for 82 goals in 2013, each recorded hat tricks Saturday. Vargo and Deven Alves put up a goal and an assist apiece, while McAvoy won 16-20 faceoffs. Grace made 11 saves in goal. The Lakers held a 47-25 advantage in shots and a 33-19 margin in ground balls.

Alves opened scoring at the 12:01 mark. After a Mars Hill turnover, Vargo set up McAndrew for a goal and a 2-0 advantage with 9:19 left in the period. Grace made a save on the Lions' next possession. The Lakers had two shots turned away, but McAndrew scored on a third shot. Connor Enright assisted as Mercyhurst took a 3-0 lead at the 6:44 mark.

A pair of Laker penalties allowed Mars Hill to get back into the contest. With 3:57 to play in the first frame, Adam Zulak scored a man-up goal. The Lions quickly got the ball back and scored 51 seconds later, making it 3-2. Two Mars Hill saves kept that score intact through a period.

McAvoy won the faceoff to start the second quarter, setting up a long Laker possession. They attempted six shots, with Heseltine finally cashing in from Brandon Thomson with 12:12 showing on the clock. Each team committed several turnovers in the next few minutes, with a Laker miscue setting up a Lion goal at the 6:27 mark.

Mercyhurst won the ensuing faceoff and responded in short order. An Enright shot went wide, but McAndrew collected the ground ball. Alves eventually found Heseltine for his second goal and a 5-3 margin with 5:33 left in the half. The hosts came back with a goal late in the period to make it 5-4 at the break.

Mercyhurst is now 7-0 in the all-time series with Mars Hill. The Lakers have now won 35 straight regular season games and 15 consecutive road regular season outings. They host Pfeiffer on Saturday, March 1. The home opener is set for 1:00 p.m. at Tullio Field.


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