March 3, 2012

MacDonald Leads RIT Past Endicott

from press release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 11 ranked Endicott men's lacrosse team kicked off their 2012 season on neutral turf Saturday against No. 7 RIT and despite three goals from midfielder Jon Thanas (Cumberland, R.I.) and 15 saves from goalie Tom Burke (Sudbury, Mass.), the Gulls lost 11-8 to the Tigers.

RIT freshman attacker Brendan MacDonald (Georgetown, Ontario) scored the first goals of his collegiate career, tallying three on the day to lead the Tigers in their season opener. MacDonald netted back-to-back goals midway through the second quarter and one more late in the fourth to ward off any attempt for an Endicott comeback.

Thanas fired on net at will, attempting 13 shots in the game. He struck first with 16 seconds left in the opening quarter to tie the game 2-2. In the second quarter, Thanas scored the first of two man-up goals that were assisted by junior Brian Estes (Derry, N.H.) at the 4:50 mark to trim RIT's lead to 6-4. Late in the third quarter, Estes found Thanas again to keep the Blue and Green in the game at 8-5.

Estes would also score, beating RIT goalie Pat Johnston (Norwell, Mass.) for the game's first goal with 4:26 to go in the first quarter.

After Thanas' first quarter goal tied the game at two, RIT shifted momentum by scoring four straight goals to take a 6-2 advantage. Tom Riley (West Nyack, N.Y.) and A.J. Tingle (Cary, N.C.) went back-to-back to start the run and MacDonald scored two straight before Endicott senior midfielder Brendan Eppley (Darien, Conn.) put the Gulls back on the board.

RIT completed their second quarter dominance with their fifth goal at 3:33 to go into halftime with a 7-4 lead. Senior attacker Tyler Russell (Livonia, N.Y.) scored his second of the game with an assist to Mac Keehfus (Jamesville, N.Y.) to cap off the first half scoring.

The Tiger looked to carry momentum into the second half when at 8:11 of the third quarter, senior Jordan Collins-Hartwig (Buffalo, N.Y.) beat Burke man-up with an assist to Russell. Nearly six minutes later, Thanas answered with his third goal to keep the Gulls within three.

A high-scoring fourth quarter started after face-off man Sam Ozycz (Cheshire, Conn.) gained possession and raced ahead to find Kyle Burke (Haverhill, Mass.) for a goal to pull Endicott within two at 8-6. Unassisted goals by MacDonald and Tigers midfielder Ryan Speciale (Painted Post, N.Y.), however, pushed RIT ahead by four for the third time in the game.

Endicott leading scorer last season, junior Connor McCormack (Norwalk, Conn.), tallied his first of 2012 with 4:24 remaining in regulation on a man-up opportunity from Peter Erickson (Yarmouth, Maine) to make it 10-7 RIT. Erickson followed up just 13 seconds later off the faceoff and beat RIT goalie Anthony DeLeo (Canandaigua, N.Y.), who had entered the game due to an injury to Johnston, to keep Endicott alive.

RIT would gain possession after a shot by McCormack was saved by DeLeo at 3:06 and just over a minute later, the Tigers put the game away with a goal by Speciale from Taylor Wiseman (Seattle, Wash.).

Johnston earned the victory for RIT after making 12 saves between the pipes. Burke was stellar with 15 saves, but took the loss in his first start in a Gulls uniform.

Endicott's Anthony Martignetti (Winchester, Mass.) was a strong defensive presence for the Gulls with three caused turnovers. The Gulls controlled loose ball situations by scooping 35 groundballs, six of which came from Erickson. Ozycz won 13-of-22 faceoff chances and grabbed five groundballs in the loss.

The Blue and Green as a team were effective on man-up opportunities, scoring in 3-of-4 chances while holding RIT to just one goal in four attempts following a penalty.

Endicott continues their tough, four-game non-conference schedule to open the season with a home match up with Eastern Connecticut at 7:00 pm on Tuesday at Endicott Stadium. RIT hosts Brockport on Wednesday, March 7th at 4:00 pm.

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