Erie, Pa.-- The ninth-ranked Lake Erie College men's lacrosse team took the top-ranked Mercyhurst University to the limit but the Lakers prevailed in a sudden death overtime session, slipping past the Storm 10-9 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday (May 11) in Erie, Pa.
The Lakers (17-0) won the opening faceoff of overtime. The Storm (12-5) defense held tough following the faceoff, forcing four Mercyhurst shots off target before Brady Heseltine sneaked a shot past Tom Lipomi (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) to pick up the overtime win.
Mercyhurst had previously defeated the Storm 13-12 in Painesville in the regular season and 13-7 in last weekend's ECAC Championship game in Erie.
The Storm opened up the scoring with a Kegan Bal (Coquitlam, B.C./Centennial Secondary) goal followed by a man-up goal from Reagan Harding (Saskatoon, SK/Bishop James Mahoney) to put the Storm up 2-0. Brian Shceetz responded with a quick goal to cut the lead to one. Trevor Tarte scored his first goal of the contest to put the Storm back in front by two. Following a Hesltine goal for the Lakers, Macgregor Johnston (Nanaimo, B.C./Dover Bay) scored a goal off a Justin Goodwin (New Westminster, B.C./New Westminster Secondary) caused turnover in the defensive zone to give the Storm a 4-2 advantage after the first.
Mitch McAvoy scored eight seconds into the second quarter to cut the lead to one before Ian Brooks tied it up at four. Heseltine scored his second of the game to give the Lakers their first lead at 5-4. Tarte scored his second goal of the game to tie the game back up before Brooks' second goal of the quarter once again gave Mercyhurst a one-goal lead. With a 1:44 left in the half, Harding scored his second of the game to even it up at six at the half.
Lake Erie struck first in the third quarter, scoring the first two goals off the sticks of Tarte and Johnston to take a 8-6 lead. Brandon Thomson scored one for the Lakers to cut the advantage to one going into the fourth.
Harding scored his third goal of the game two-and-a-half minutes into the fourth to give the Storm a two-goal advantage. Lipomi had big fourth quarter for the Storm, making four saves but a Jake McAndrew goal and a man-up goal by Cory Becker tied the game at nine. Both teams had shots to win in the final minute of the fourth but neither were able to convert, sending the game into overtime where the Lakers scored the golden goal a little more than two minutes in.
Harding and Tarte finished the game with three goals apiece while Johnston had two. Bal tallied three points on a goal and two assists while Josh Becker (Salamanca, N.Y./Salamanca) had one assist. Lipomi made 13 saves in net. Goodwin led the Storm with seven groundballs and Adam Bakular (Courtenay, B.C./G.P. Vanier) and Ryan Jurek (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) had four apiece but the Lakers owned a slight 30-27 advantage in the category.
Heseltine led the Lakers with three goals and Scheetz had one goal and three assists. Michael Grace made nine stops in net. Mercyhurst will host the winner of the Limestone College/Seton Hill University quarterfinal game next Saturday (May 18).