PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Lake Erie took down Wheeling Jesuit (W. Va.) in a battle of East Coast Athletic Conference unbeatens on Wednesday. The Storm cruised, 15-8, against a previously undefeated (6-0) and ranked (No. 13, United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association D-II Coaches Poll) Cardinals squad.
For LEC (3-3, 3-0 ECAC) the victory marked the team's third in a row. It marked the program's first win against a ranked team this season and its first since toppling then-No. 8 Seton Hill (Pa.) on May 3.
Defender Justin Goodwin garnered 14 ground balls and caused three turnovers in leading a staunch defensive effort against a Wheeling Jesuit (6-1, 3-1) team that came into the game leading the ECAC at 13.3 goals per game. For good measure, Goodwin also scored a goal; the junior from New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, was one of eight Storm players to score on the chilly night in Painesville, Ohio. Chief among those scorers were Ryan Jurek (three goals-one assist), Mitchell Shafer (2-3) and Trevor Tarte (3-1).
A Reagan Harding goal at 11:53 in the first opened the game's scoring. Wheeling Jesuit tied the game, 1-1, less than two minutes later, but then the Storm closed out the quarter by scoring five unanswered goals. LEC potted a pair of man-up goals over that stretch and went on to outshoot the Cardinals, 13-4, over the first 15 minutes of play.
LEC and WJU traded goals early in the second, and then, after a four-minute scoring drought, Mitchell Shafer scored on a feed from Austin Bishop at 7:41. That goal put the Storm up, 8-2. The next shot to get by either netminder wouldn't come for nearly six minutes, and it was a Bryce Brochu goal. Brochu's score -- his third of the game – rounded out the first-half scoring. Lake Erie went into halftime leading 8-3 and out-shooting the Cardinals, 19-10.
A slowed-down second-quarter pace gave way in the third when WJU scored two quick goals against the Storm's one. Lake Erie then took a 12-5 lead, scoring the game's first back-to-back goals since the first quarter. The second of those two goals was a Trevor Tarte score in a man-up situation, and it marked LEC's third man-up goal of the contest.
The third quarter ended with the Storm leading the Cardinals, 12-6.
Wil Mulcahy broke a scoreless fourth at 6:30, with Mitchell Shafer collecting his third assist of the night on the play that put the Green & White up by seven (13-6). The Storm traded two goals for two the rest of the way to close out the dominant 15-8 victory.
Lake Erie outshot WJU, 36-26, and the Storm put 26 of their shots on goal. Junior goalkeeper Nicholas Simonetti stopped 10-of-18 shots that he faced.
Man-up situations loomed large in the outcome – LEC went 3-of-5 while holding the Cardinals to a 1-of-8 mark. The Storm entered Wednesday's battle with the nation's top man-up success rate (62.5 percent) and they managed to hold that type of performance steady against the ECAC's top man-down defense.
Justin Goodwin's 14 ground balls mark a new single-game high for an LEC player. Goodwin had 10 ground balls in his last game (March 22 vs. Alderson-Broaddus) and now has 37 on the season.
Wednesday's win over Wheeling Jesuit closed out a three-game home stand for Lake Erie. The Storm won all three and, dating back to last season, have now won four in a row at Jack Britt Stadium. LEC's next game – a non-conference affair against Belmont Abbey – is slated for Saturday (1 p.m. start).
Notes: Lake Erie is now 3-2 all-time against Wheeling Jesuit. … WJU had outscored foes, 80-42, prior to Wednesday's contest. Their margin of 6.3 goals per game ranked first in the ECAC and seventh in the nation. … Sophomore Mitchell Shafer has logged six goals and eight assists over Lake Erie's last three games. Shafer has scored 19 points (9G-10A) on the season. … Trevor Tarte is on a scoring binge as well. Tarte has recorded 12 netfinders over LEC's last three games. He also has seven goals in two games against WJU over the last two seasons. … The Storm went 14-of-23 on face-offs Wednesday. Over their three-game winning streak, Lake Erie has won 68 percent (51-of-75) of its draws.