Third Quarter Burst Lifts UMass Past St. John's, 11-7
April 7, 2007
AMHERST, Mass. - Down 6-3 at halftime, UMass scored the first five goals of the second half to rally for an 11-7 victory over St. John's in an ECAC lacrosse battle on Saturday. Jim Connolly recorded a natural hat trick in that 5-0 run, scoring three straight goals in a span of 3:42. The Minutemen have won two games in a row for the first time this season and move to 4-5 overall, 2-1 in the ECAC. Connolly added two assists for five points and Brett Garber scored three goals and had an assist.
The match-up was emotional for both coaches as UMass' Greg Cannella coached against his former top assistant Jason Miller, who took over as St. John's head coach this season. The Red Storm, which had posted its first ECAC win last week against Rutgers, fell to 4-6 overall, 1-3 in the league.
In the decisive third quarter, UMass broke open the game with Garber scoring just 1:23 into the quarter cutting St. John's lead to 6-4. Then Brian Jacovina scored his third of the season to make it 6-5, just 1:12 later. Then Connolly went to work. He tied the game at 6-6 on his goal with 9:06 left in the third quarter. Then Connolly scored the next two, the first coming with 8:52 left (14 seconds apart) followed by his final tally with 5:24 in the third making it 8-6 UMass.
St. John's Justin O'Donnell ended the bleeding with a score at the 3:33 mark, cutting it to an 8-7 UMass lead.
Garber's third goal of the game with 10 seconds left in the third quarter brought the lead back to 9-7. Sophomore Tim Balise scored two fourth-quarter goals to ice the game for the Minutemen.
UMass defense, stepped up in the second half, as they Minutemen outscored the Red Storm, 8-1. Sophomore goalie Doc Schneider made seven saves in each half for 14 in the game. He has at least 12 saves in six of nine games this season.
After an even first quarter, where the teams stood tied at 2-2, St. John's took over late in the second quarter. Garber scored the first tally of the second quarter after almost 11 scoreless minutes by both teams. With UMass up 3-2, St. John's ripped off four goals in a span of 1:32 with O'Donnell, Tom Manes, Jack Rosson and Tom Michaelsen scoring for the 6-3 halftime lead.
Freshman Bobby Hayes won a career-best 14 face-offs on 20 draws. He also added the first two assists of his career in the win along with a career-high six groundballs.
UMass continues ECAC play next Saturday, as they travel to Geneva, N.Y. to take on the Hobart Statesmen at 1 p.m. The game can be heard live on 100.9 FM WRNX in Massachusetts.
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