MANCHESTER, NH – The #3 Merrimack men's lacrosse team stayed hot on Wednesday night at Saint Anselm as they defeated the Hawks by the score of 12-10 to win their ninth straight game overall. Division II Preseason Player of the Year, Corey Lunney (Little Silver, NJ) added to his league lead in goals with a game-high five goals in the victory.
Merrimack (9-1, 8-0 NE-10) stays on the road on Saturday for a NE-10 showdown with #4 Adelphi at 4:00 p.m.
"It was certainly a tough game against a team who again played us tough," said head coach Mike Morgan. "Our guys overcame a few momentum swings, various penalties and a tough environment to come out with the win tonight."
The man up offense for the Warriors was dominant on Wednesday afternoon as they finished the game going 4-for-6 on their opportunities while the Merrimack defense forced a season-high 28 Hawks turnovers to give the Warriors more offensive possessions which eventually led to the victory.
The Warriors had seven players that recorded at least two points on Wednesday as Lunney led the way with his five goal performance. Jamie Shand (Massapequa, NY) continued his high level of play with a game-high four assists to go along with a ground ball and a caused turnover while Paul Jones (Guilderland, NY) and Kyle Guilbert (Walpole, Mass.) each finished with two goals and an assist in the victory. Paul Gallagher (Simsbury, CT) came off the bench and scored two goals on two shots for the Warriors.
Lunney opened up the scoring for the Warriors with his 33rd goal of the season less than three minutes into the action after a nice pass from Greg Melaugh (Billerica, Mass.). The Hawks responded just over a minute later to tie the game at one before the Warriors scored three straight goals to take the 4-1 lead. Lunney and Melaugh scored back-to-back man up goals for the Warriors and Gallagher added his first of the night.
Saint Anselm closed out the first quarter with a man up goal and opened the scoring in the second with another goal, making the score 4-3 in favor of the visitors. Lunney and Guilbert found the back of the net to extend the Warriors lead to three, 6-3 just minutes later.
Jake Mallinson and Lunney traded goals at the end of the quarter to make the score 7-4 in favor of the Warriors heading into the locker room. Ryan Poirier (Warwick, RI) picked up his first assist of the game on the Lunney goal.
The Hawks opened the scoring in the third quarter as Charles Geraghty found the back of the net but the Warriors scored three goals in 2:22 to take the commanding 10-5 lead heading into the final quarter. Guilbert scored his seventh of the season with just over two minutes to play and then Jones scored on the man up chance with 44 seconds to go after a nice feed from Shand. Gallagher scored the third goal of the streak with just three seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Hawks gave the Warriors a scare to open the fourth as they scored three straight goals to make the score 10-8 in favor of the visitors but the Warriors responded quickly with two goals in 14 seconds to put Saint Anselm away. Jones scored the first goal and Lunney scored his league leading 37th goal of the season to give Merrimack the four goal lead.
The Hawks scored the final two goals of the game but it was not enough as the Warriors picked up their fifth road victory of the season.
For the game, Merrimack held the 36-30 advantage in shots for the game while the Hawks held the slight 29-26 lead in ground balls. The Hawks went 16-for-26 on faceoff attempts while Merrimack was nearly perfect, going 16-for-19 on their clearing attempts.
Connor Reagan (East Lyme, CT) won his ninth straight start between the pipes for the Warriors making only five saves on the night. Brandon Waiter (Westport, CT) led the Warriors defense with four ground balls while Melaugh caused two turnovers to go along with his goal and assist.