March 10, 2013

Top Ranked Mercyhurst Rallies Past St. Mike's

from press release

ERIE, Pa. - The #1 Mercyhurst men's lacrosse team rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat #11 St. Michael's, 8-5, in the 2013 home opener Sunday afternoon. The Laker defense shut out the Purple Knights for 37:49 in the middle of the game at Tullio Field.

St. Michael's, playing its first game of the season, came out on fire. It scored the first three goals of the day, taking a 3-0 lead after one quarter. Goalie Chris DeMairo also made five saves in net to shut out the Lakers.

Mercyhurst began to turn things around in the second period. E.J. Sellie forced a turnover and sent the Lakers on the attack. After an initial shot went high, Brady Heseltine found Zac Reid for a goal with 10:10 left in the half.

The hosts were able to maintain possession for much of the frame, but several shots went missing, keeping the Knights ahead. Eventually, a St. Michael's turnover set up a Laker score. Goalie Michael Grace started the offense and the ball ended up in Brian Scheetz' hands. The school's career points leader hit Heseltine for a goal with 1:15 remaining in the quarter. However, the visitors still went into the locker room with a 3-2 edge.

The Lakers wasted little time in the third period, as Patrick Maloney caused a turnover and gave Mercyhurst possession. James Chayka sprinted in and scored from the right side, tying the contest at 3 with 12:49 to go. After another Knights turnover, the Lakers had the ball again. St. Michael's was called for slashing, putting the home team into its man-up offense. Heseltine hit the post, but Deven Alves grabbed the ball and passed to Brandon Thomson, who scored with 9:49 showing on the clock.

Grace made a save on the other end and then Chayka hit the post. Eventually, Trevor Vargo ended up with the ball. He found Ian Brooks for a goal to make it 5-3 with 4:55 left in the period. With 51 seconds to play, Chayka found the back of the net, putting the Lakers ahead, 6-3.

Mitch McAvoy continued his strong faceoff day in the fourth quarter. The junior won the opening draw and then sprinted in, finding Scheetz for a goal nine seconds into the period. After McAvoy won another faceoff, the Lakers peppered the Knights' net, with Scheetz scoring with 13:11 remaining. St. Michael's scored twice in the fourth, but Mercyhurst had more than enough cushion to get the win.

Scheetz led with two goals and an assist. Chayka scored twice and Heseltine had a goal and an assist. Grace made 15 saves in net. McAvoy won 11-15 faceoffs, picking up eight ground balls. Pete Donnally paced the Knights with two goals.

Mercyhurst improved to 3-0 in 2013 and has now won 23 straight regular season games. It has also taken 14 consecutive home regular season outings. The Lakers host Dominican (Calif.) on Tuesday, March 12. Faceoff is set for noon at Tullio Field.

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