February 16, 2014

St. John's Downs Holy Cross 15-13 in Opener

from Press Release

QUEENS, N.Y. – A seven-goal third period and hat tricks from all three of its starting attackmen guided the St. John's lacrosse team to a 15-13 season-opening win over Holy Cross at DaSilva Memorial Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Storm trailed 3-0 midway through the first quarter before scoring 13 of the next 16 goals – including netting six unanswered between the end of the second quarter and closing stages of the third – to take command of the contest. The Crusaders outscored St. John's, 7-3, in the final quarter but the Red Storm was able to make enough plays down the stretch to secure the victory, its sixth straight over Holy Cross all in season openers.

The Red Storm got a combined 17 points from its senior attacking trio of Kieran McArdle, Kevin Cernuto and Colin Keegan. McArdle finished with a game-high seven points on three goals and four assists, taking his career assists tally to 103 and in the process passing program great Brian Bugge for second all-time at St. John's. McArdle is one of just three players in school history to tally 100 assists in a career, joining Bugge and all-time leader Mike Bolger, who finished his illustrious career with 122 assists.

Cernuto, meanwhile, finished with six points on three goals and three assists to move into fifth place on St. John's all-time scoring list with 130 points, while Keegan rounded out a terrific attacking display by the Red Storm with three goals and one assist. Classmate Ryan Fitzgerald recorded one assist and scored twice, as did juniorStefan Diachenko, who is already halfway to his season tally from 2013. Sophomore James Bonanno and junior LSM Chris Fisher added a goal apiece for St. John's, the latter finding the back of the net for the first time in his Red Storm career.

St. John's was outshot 38-31 in the game but made up for it by winning the groundball battle, 40-35, and holding the Crusaders to 1-of-5 on extra-man opportunities, including 1-for-4 in the fourth quarter. In his first collegiate game, freshman Joe Danaher made seven saves in the Red Storm net in earning the complete-game win, while junior Mario Carrera contested all 30 of the game's faceoffs, winning 16 of them and finishing with seven groundballs. Junior defenseman Mark DiFrangia collected a game-high eight groundballs while Keegan and senior defenseman Andrew Viscusi each tallied four.

Down by three goals early in the first quarter, Fitzgerald scored the Red Storm's first goal of 2014 with 4:49 remaining in the period when he collected a pass from Cernuto and shot the ball over his shoulder and into the back of the net. Keegan then scored from close range before McArdle got his season underway with a jumping shot that beat Holy Cross goalie Michael Ortlieb as the visitors led 4-3 after 15 minutes of play.

McArdle backed his defender down before shooting and scoring to get the second period underway and, after a Crusaders score and an unassisted effort by Cernuto, halftime was reached with the score tied 5-all.

St. John's opened the third quarter with five unanswered goals and took the lead 2:27 into the period after McArdle evaded a double team to feed Bonanno, who rifled a shot into the goal. Keegan scored the next two goals – the first from long range and the second off a deflection – before McArdle assisted Diachenko and Cernuto 1:12 apart to see the Red Storm take a 10-5 lead. Holy Cross' Terry McKenna scored the next goal but St. John's answered with goals from Cernuto and Diachenko to take a 12-6 lead into the final quarter of play.

Fisher's first career goal early in the fourth quarter was the highlight of the final 15 minutes for the Red Storm as the Crusaders scored four straight in a span of 2:43 to pull within three goals at 13-10 with 10:03 remaining. Following a McArdle goal in traffic, Holy Cross got within two at 14-12 with 4:14 on the clock before Fitzgerald and McKenna closed the scoring. St. John's was called for four penalties in the fourth quarter but only allowed the Crusaders one man-up goal and in the final three minutes worked itself out of a crucial 6-on-4 man-down situation.

The Red Storm completed 9-of-14 clear attempts while Holy Cross was 14-of-15 on clears. The Crusaders got four goals and two goals from Sean Wilkinson and three goals from McKenna.

Next up, St. John's opens its away slate with a matchup against Ivy League power Yale on Saturday, Feb. 22. Faceoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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