Men's lacrosse falls late at nationally-regarded Bentley, 10-9

Men's lacrosse falls late at nationally-regarded Bentley, 10-9

WALTHAM, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College men's lacrosse team yielded the winning goal in the final minute of a 10-9 loss at nationally-regarded Bentley University on Tuesday at the Falcons' turf field. The Purple Knights are 2-9 overall and 1-9 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while Bentley is 6-6 and 5-5. The Falcons are receiving votes toward both national polls.

Junior Brian Loughlin (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) paced the Purple and Gold with three goals and one assist, and senior Tom Fitzgerald (Cranford, N.J./Cranford), junior Bobby Frank (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) and first-year Ralph Grillone III (Brockton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) each had a goal and a helper. Junior Matt Hanley (Plainview, N.Y./Bethpage) notched 17 saves, three ground balls and one caused turnover, as his squad was outshot 45-25. Classmate Neil Gallagher (Sudbury, Mass./Green Mountain Valley School) totaled five ground balls and one caused turnover while helping the Purple Knights go 21-of-24 on clears against their eighth foe this year that is either ranked or receiving votes.

Senior John Wheeler had a hat trick for Bentley, and junior Matt Sanford notched two goals and two helpers. Senior Max Adler was 16-of-21 on draws with 11 ground balls, while junior Robert Hamerman made five saves.Sophomores Matt Blois (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) and David Malota (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) and first-year Anthony Sullivan (Westfield, Mass./Westfield) all scored once. Sophomore long-stick midfielder Matt Cotter (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) scooped three ground balls, and first-year Justin Richmond (New Market, Md./Linganore) had three ground balls and five faceoffs wins while matching up with a Falcon second in Division II in ground balls per game and fifth in faceoff winning percentage.

Hanley made 10 of his stops in the opening half, and six different Purple Knights scored while Saint Michael's ran its streak to six consecutive quarters allowing two goals or fewer. Sullivan netted the opening tally at 10:51 of the first quarter and, after Richmond nabbed the ground ball to hand Adler a rare faceoff loss, Grillone converted Fitzgerald's feed 50 seconds later to make it 2-0. Hanley's stop at 2:08 led to a quick transition opportunity, which Loughlin concluded by taking Frank's pass with two minutes left.

Bentley countered with a pair of goals 1:48 apart, as Wheeler scored with 49 seconds left before first-year Mark Galione tallied at 14:01 of the second period, but the visitors finished out the half with the final three goals, kicking off a 5-0 run. Frank took Grillone's pass at 8:36, and Malota was assisted by sophomore Connor McGuirk (Glens Falls, N.Y./Glens Falls) at 2:06. Bentley possessed in the final minute, but Hanley's stop and Loughlin's ground ball gave the Purple Knights one final opportunity, and Fitzgerald cashed in with seven seconds left.

Blois extended the advantage to five at 12:21 of the third on a Loughlin pass, but the Falcons scored eight of the final 10 goals. Sanford's strike made it 7-4 before Loughlin responded 35 seconds later, and Bentley scored twice in 31 seconds over the closing 1:35 to trail just 8-6 heading into the fourth period. Sophomore Alex Astarita's marker 1:04 into the fourth drew the host within one, but Hanley made three stops in the ensuing nearly eight minutes before Loughlin pushed the cushion to 9-7 with 6:10 left, forcing a failed clear and netting a solo tally.

However, Adler won the next faceoff, and Sanford scored at 5:12, while two Purple Knight penalties were assessed on the play. Astarita's man-up marker with 4:29 to go knotted the contest. Each team had a shot on goal in the next two minutes before a long Bentley possession ended with first-year Matt Brooks taking his third shot in that time, but first on net, scoring the winning tally at 50 seconds. Cotter nabbed the ground ball on the next draw, and his team came out of a timeout to try one last shot from the left wing with seven ticks left that Hamerman denied.

The Purple Knights cap their season with a Senior Day contest on Saturday against The College of Saint Rose at 12 p.m.