Updated: 05/02/2014 11:30 PM
Created: 05/02/2014 7:44 PM WHEC.com
The No. 1 RIT (17-0) men's lacrosse team outscored St. Lawrence (8-6) 12-3 in the second half en route to a 19-9 win over the Saints in the semifinals of the 2014 Liberty League Men's Lacrosse Tournament on Friday afternoon from Tiger Stadium. RIT, the tournament's top seed and two-time defending Liberty League champion, will face second-seeded Union College in the title game on Sunday, May 4 at 12 p.m. from Tiger Stadium.
Junior Casey Jackson (Victoria, BC/Claremont) led RIT with six points on three goals and three assists. Ryan Lee (Sharon, Ontario/The Hill Academy) tallied four goals, while Braden Wallace (Oakville, Ontario/Abbey Park), Allister Warren (Toronto, Ontario/Malvern Collegiate Institute) and Eddie Kiesa (Syracuse, NY/Jamesville-Dewitt) each scored two goals. Pat Johnston (Long Beach, CA/Norwell (MA)) was outstanding in net for the Tigers, improving to 12-0 on the season, making 18 saves.
Conor Healey led St. Lawrence with three goals. Tommy Hovey scored two goals and had an assist, while Charlie Jennings, Charlie Duprey, William Burchenal and Jonathan Fairbanks each scored for the Saints. Nick Ford took the loss in net, making 13 saves.
Shots were 55-35 in favor of RIT. The Tigers won 22-of-32 face-offs, led by Tyler Brooks-Lambert (Seneca Castle, NY/Midlakes) who was 18-of-28 on the day with 10 ground balls. Matt Hossack (Port Perry, Ontario/Port Perry) had an assist, three ground balls, won a face-off and led RIT with three caused turnovers. RIT was 2-for-3 with the man advantage and were 19-of-20 on clearing attempts, while St. Lawrence went 14-of-23 on clearing attempts and went 2-for-3 on man-up.
RIT is now 20-14 against St. Lawrence, scoring 19 goals on the Saints for the second time in six days. Last Saturday, RIT outscored the Saints, 8-1 over the final 21:22 to pull out a 19-12 win over the Saints on the road in the regular season finale.
RIT jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on goals from Lee, Kyle Sterzin (Fairport, NY/Fairport) and Brad Gillies (Oakville, Ontario/St. Thomas Aquinas) in the first 5:50 of the game. Lee made it 1-0 Tigers just 2:17 into the game on his 37th goal of the season off a feed from Hoassack. Sterzin made it 2-0 RIT at 10:11 of the first the quarter on his tenth tally of the year, and Gillies capped off the run with his third goal of the season, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead 5:50 into the game.
After a St. Lawrence timeout, the Saints answered back when Healey tallied his first of the game at 5:19 of the first quarter, cutting RIT's lead to 3-1. Wallace and Lee sandwiched a pair of RIT goals in between a Duprey goal giving RIT a 5-2 lead after the first quarter.
Jackson opened the scoring in the second quarter giving the Tigers a 6-2 lead on his 45th of the season just 32 seconds into the second quarter. Healey answered for the Saints at 12:47 of the second on his 30th goal of the season. After a Jackson goal made it 7-3, St. Lawrence rattled off three straight goal to close out the first half, cutting RIT's lead to 7-6. William Burchenal, Hovey and Healey scored to pull the Saints within a goal at halftime.
Lee opened the scoring in the third quarter with on his 39th goal of the season off an assist from Jackson just 20 seconds into the half.
The turning point came when Johnston robbed Hovey of a goal from point-blank range. With 12:46 remaining, St. Lawrence was driving to cut the lead to one goal. Hovey found himself in front of the RIT net 1-on-1 with Johnston who stood tall and made the big save.
RIT would outscore St. Lawrence 11-3 25:23 to seal the win. Wisman scored off a great feed from Kiesa at the 10:23 mark of the third, giving the Tigers a 9-6 lead. After a Hovey goal made it 9-7, RIT rattled off three straight goals, opening up a 12-7 lead on Kiesa's goal with 2:25 to play in the quarter. Wallace and Warren also had goals in that stretch for the Tigers.
Fairbanks scored a man-up goal off a feed from Jennings with 33 seconds to play in the third quarter, breaking the run for RIT.
The Tigers poured it on in the fourth quarter, scoring the first seven goals of the quarter, outscoring the Saints 7-1. Lee, Kiesa, Warren, Krzyston, Kyle Aquin (Hamilton, Ontario/St. Jean De Brebeuf), Pat McMullan (Easton, PA/Wyoming Seminary) and Jackson all tallied for the Tigers in the fourth quarter.
Jennings added a late goal for the Saints to make it a 19-9 final.
The Tigers have now won 27 straight games at home dating back to the 2012 season. RIT is 5-0 all-time in Liberty League Tournament games and 22-1 against league foes since joining three years ago. RIT has now scored 292 goals this season, outscoring its opponents, 292-140, and scored at least 18 goals in a game for the tenth time this season.
RIT and Union will meet for the second this season on Sunday. The Tigers beat the Dutchmen 8-7 back on April 16. Kiesa and Wisman each scored three goals to lead the Tigers to the win. The winner Sunday wins the league title and earns the automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament.