Allen, Croatti, Haversat lead Panthers in setback
WORCESTER, Mass. – Will Mandracchia (Melrose, Mass.) scored the decisive goal with 1:25 left in regulation on a frigid Wednesday night to lift host Clark University to a thrilling 10-8 come-from-behind win over Plymouth State in non-league men's lacrosse action at the Granger Sports Complex.
With the victory, the Cougars improve to 7-1 and snap a four-game losing streak to the Panthers that dates back to the 2012 season. The Panthers slip to 1-5 after having dropped its last two games by a combined three goals.
Pete Allen (Newbury, N.H.) led the Plymouth State attack with three goals, while Alex Croatti (Brunswick, Maine) handed out three assists. Junior Adam Haversat (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) recorded a team-high four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
The way things started, it would've never looked like the Scarlet and White would need that three goal burst to secure the win after they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the game's first 10 minutes. Clark wasted little time getting on the board as Isaac Bass (Amherst, Mass.) fed Mandracchia for a man-up strike just 3:11 into the game. Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.) then moved into his playmaking role, handing out helpers to Bass and Rob Holden (East Longmeadow, Mass.) to put the Scarlet and White ahead 3-0. That advantage moved to 4-0 when Mandracchia and Bass switched roles and it was Bass getting on the board with 4:33 left in the opening quarter.
Plymouth State finally broke through when Cam Cormier (Auburn, Maine) found the back of the net, but Clark answered with another Holden score with help from Mandracchia right before the period ended.
The Panthers seemed to get their offense clicking in the second stanza as Allen and Phil Pichel (Hopkinton, Mass.) both scored less than a minute apart early in the second to bring Plymouth State closer. Another score for the Panthers – this one from Galen Antolino (Exeter, N.H.) – made the score 5-4 and momentum had clearly shifted to the side of the visitors.
Clark snapped Plymouth State's scoring surge when Ryan Moore (West Hartford, Conn.) fed Bass for the Cougars' first goal in nearly 10 minutes of action, but the Panthers struck 2:15 before halftime when Croatti handed out his first of three assists on the night to Bobby Savoia (Plymouth, Mass.) to get PSU to within one (6-5) at intermission.
The Cougars responded early in the third when Jack Goracy (West Islip, N.Y.) fired one into the twine, but the Panthers had the answer, running off three straight goals in less than three minutes to take their first lead of the contest. Croatti found Allen and then Mac Tetreault (New Durham, N.H.) got in on the act, knotting the game at 7-7. The Panthers then went ahead when Croatti found Allen again with 7:02 left in the quarter. Johnson was able to even the score when he deked out a defender and fooled another on his way to his lone tally of the night with three seconds left in the third.
Things were pretty quiet for most of the fourth period until an extended Clark possession late in regulation saw them take the lead. Early in the possession, Andrew Myhre (Middlebury, Vt.) almost scored on a low rocket but Panther netminder Jayson LaRiviere (Chelmsford, Mass.) was able to turn it away. Later, Myhre sent another low shot that went wide, but on the restart Mandracchia beat his man as he turned the corner, found the angle and let fly a shot that found its way in the far left corner for the go-ahead goal with 1:25 left to play.
Plymouth State still had a chance to even the contest, but the Cougars won the faceoff and that led to Bass controlling the ball for the entire possession before he scored the insurance goal with 38 seconds to go.
The statistics varied drastically other than shots which the Panthers led, 30-29. Clark held a 40-16 edge in groundballs but the Cougars committed a season-high 21 turnovers compared to just eight for Plymouth State. The Scarlet and White, who entered the contest at a near 35 percent conversion rate on man-up opportunities, went just 1-for-6 in the special situations.
Alex Turgeon (Holden, Mass.) helped the Cougars control possession for most of the game by going 15-for-22 at the faceoff "X" while scooping up a game-best eight groundballs. Goalie Drew Riopelle-Tyrrell (Northville, Mich.) turned aside 12 shots for the hosts, while LaRiviere stopped eight for the Panthers.
Clark is back in action on Saturday when they open up NEWMAC play with a home contest against Wheaton at 7:00 p.m., while the Panthers begin Little East Conference slate Sunday at UMass Dartmouth.
(Courtesy of Clark Sports Information)
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