St. Lawrence Upends Endicott in First Round

May 10: The St. Lawrence University men's lacrosse team advanced in the NCAA tournament for the second time in program history Wednesday afternoon, as the Saints held off a late Endicott College rally to defeat the Gulls 13-10 for the third NCAA tournament victory in the program's history and the first since 1979 on a rainy afternoon in Beverly, MA.

The Saints (14-3, 6-0) qualified for the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2006 Liberty League Tournament. It was the first time in nineteen years that St. Lawrence participated in the National Championship, and head coach Mike Mahoney wasn't about to let a great opportunity slip through his team's fingers. The Saints, who were NCAA semifinalists in the College Division tournament in 1979, advanced to the round of 16 and will play at Geneseo on Saturday in the second round of the 2006 tournament.

The opening quarter provided plenty of opportunities for both teams to get their offenses jump started. The Saints wasted very little time getting on the board, as junior Nick Mastine scored the first goal of the game only 47 seconds into regulation. The Erin, Ont. native gave the visiting team a 1-0 lead when he fired a shot past Endicott goaltender Ryan Walsh on a delayed penalty.

The Gulls would waste little time in evening the score at 1-1, though, as freshman Brandon Dube fed junior Dan Ryan from behind St. Lawrence goaltender Justin Demuth. Ryan took a low shot that beat Demuth for the home team's first goal of the afternoon.

Much of the following eighteen minutes of the first half would belong to St. Lawrence, as they used fantastic heads-up passing and some pretty shots to grab a 7-1 advantage. At 7:22 of the first quarter, freshman Pete Carroll made a beautiful pass across the goalie's crease to sophomore Ben Prime, who buried the shot to give St. Lawrence a 2-1 edge.

The No. 18 ranked team in the country wouldn't stop there, though, as Prime would net his second straight goal with 1:16 to go in the opening fifteen minutes of play. With a large scrum in front of the Endicott goal, the ball popped out right to an awaiting Prime, who took the open look and scored to put the Saints ahead 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.

St. Lawrence carried their momentum into the second quarter, as junior Brendan Lynch got things going 2:20 into play to put the Saints up 4-1. A mere 24 seconds later at 2:34 of the second quarter, Carroll fed a pass to sophomore Kevin Russell in front of Walsh. The Madison, CT native quickly faked a shot, then took a behind-the-head shot that completely fooled the Gulls' netminder to put the Saints ahead 5-1.

Russell kept his attack going, scoring three consecutive goals in a four minute span to extend the visitor's lead to 7-1. His second goal came with 8:43 to play in the first half when he collected a rebound and laced a shot between Walsh's legs for the 6-1 advantage. His third goal, which completed the Saints' first half scoring, was another behind-the-head shot that Walsh again couldn't manage.

Endicott, trailing by six, refused to roll over as the Gulls clawed their way back into the contest with two goals to close the first half. Just as the Saints killed off a two-man advantage, Endicott's John Ortoloni got the ball to freshman Dan Cain who slipped a high shot past Demuth to close the gap to 7-2. The Gulls would score the final goal of the second quarter to make the score 7-3 at the break. With only 38 seconds left in the half, Endicott's Brendan Delaney made a long cross-field pass to a wide open Burt Fahy who had slipped behind the St. Lawrence defense. Fahey's shot got past Demuth for the third Endicott goal and gave the home team some confidence heading into the second half down by four.

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