ERIE, Pa.— The 13th-ranked Lake Erie College men's lacrosse team advanced to the ECAC Championship game for the second straight year, dispatching 12th-ranked Wheeling Jesuit University, 9-7, Friday (May 2) in Erie, Pa.
After seven minutes of back and forth action, the Storm struck first, with Reagan Harding (Saskatoon, Sask./Bishop James Mahoney) scored from ten-yards out on a pass from Mitchell Shafer (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg). That proved to be the only goal of the quarter in a defensive battle, in which Tom Lipomi (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) made two saves.
The Cardinals came alive in the second quarter, scoring two quick goals but a laser of a shot from Trevor Tarte (Amhertsburg, Ont./Kiski Prep) off a pass by Harding to tie the game at two. Minutes later, Austin Bishop (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) rolled around the crease and scored on a bouncer to give the Storm a 3-2 lead. Macgregor Johnston increased the lead to two off a rocket of a shot, assisted by Shafer, to give the Storm the halftime advantage.
Johnston scored his second goal of the game, assisted by Tarte, to extend the Storm lead to three in the third quarter. After a man-up goal by Wheeling, Harding scored his second goal of the game, assisted by Tarte. The Cardinals scored the final goal of the frame to cut the lead to two heading into the fourth.
After Harding recorded his third goal of the game, Justin Goodwin (New Westminster, B.C./New Westminster Secondary) picked up the groundball and found Shafer for the goal to give the Storm a four goal advantage. The Cardinals scored two straight goals but Ryan Jurek (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) notched his first goal to take the lead back to three. The Storm defense stepped up, killing off a one minute, un-releasable penalty with less than six minutes to play. Wheeling Jesuit broke through the Storm defense for a late goal but the Storm held on for the win.
Harding led the Storm with three goals and one assist for four points. Johnston had a pair of goals. Tarte and Shafer had one goal, two assists for three points. Bishop, Jurek and Goodwin had one point each.
Goodwin had a game-high seven groundballs while Rashad Brown (Lockport, N.Y./Lockport/Genesee CC/Mars Hill) and Adam Bakular (Courtenay, B.C./G.P. Vanier) had five groundballs each. Brown went 10-of-19 (52.6%) on faceoffs. Goodwin and Tyler Smoot (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Scioto) combined for five caused turnovers.
Lipomi picked up the win in net, making eight saves.
The Storm defense combined to cause seven turnovers and held the Cardinals to just 24-of-32 (75%) on clears. They also owned a 29-21 advantage on groundballs and outshot the Cardinals 42-28.
The Storm will play fourth-seed Seton Hill University in the championship game Sunday (May 4) at noon in Erie. The Griffins upset top-seeded Mercyhurst University in their semifinal game.