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Great Dane Train on the right track

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One down, one to go.

The UAlbany men’s lacrosse team defeated UMass Lowell by a score of 15-10 on Thursday night in the semifinal of the America East tournament in a hard fought game that saw four ties and five different lead changes.

Jakob Patterson led the Great Danes with five goals and an assist, Sean Eccles added four goals with two assists, and Tehoka Nanticoke added three goals to go alongside three assists. UMass Lowell was led by Jon Phillips who had five goals and Harrison Morrill, who had three and freshman goalie Hunter Braun who finished with 15 saves.

“It’s playoff time,” Coach Scott Marr said after the game. “This is what the playoffs are all about. They came to play and so did we. Hats off to them, they played outstanding. They gave us everything we could handle.”

UMass opened up the scoring with a goal less than two minutes into the game. The Great Danes responded quickly as Alex Burgmaster found the back of the net just over a minute later to tie the game at 1-1.UMass went ahead after they scored two goals in 13 seconds to make it 3-1 River Hawks. JD Colarusso made an excellent save a minute later on a fast break the keep the score at 3-1.

The River Hawks continued to dominate the opening period, scoring another goal with just over eight minutes remaining to go up 4-1. Jon Phillips had three of the River Hawks first four goals.

Jakob Patterson answered for the Great Danes a minute later to make it 4-2. Tehoka Nanticoke then scored off a Patterson assist to make it 4-3.the River Hawks were not done as they scored again with just over two minutes remaining to make it 5-3. Patterson wasn’t finished as he found the back of the net again to close the gap to 5-4. Colarusso made another save as time expired in the first quarter to keep it at 5-4.

The second quarter went much like the first. As UMass scored first to go up 6-4 and controlled the pace of play. Nanticoke found the back of the net halfway period to make it 6-5, but UMass responded again to make it 7-5, which would be the score going into halftime. The story of the first half was UMass goalie Hunter Brian who had six of his ten first half saves in the second period.

Sean Eccles wasted no time for the Great Danes in the third period, scoring a goal within the first 30 seconds to make it 7-6. Kyle McClancy got in on the party for the Great Danes, scoring a minute later to make it 7-7. Both team were quiet until UMass Lowell’s Harrison Morris scored with 4:27 remaining to make it 8-7, his third goal of the game.

Nanticoke responded with his third goal of the game, scoring a goal 30 seconds later to tie the game at 8-8. Jakob Patterson added his third seconds later and the Great Danes took their first lead of the game at 9-8. Back and forth they went, as UMass tied it up not long after, with Phillip’s fifth goal of the game. Sean Eccles beat the buzzer for the Great Danes, scoring his second goal of the game to make it 10-9 going into the fourth period.

The River Hawks would not go quietly into the night as they opened up the scoring in the fourth period to tie it at 10. Kyle McClancy scored his second of the game at the 10 minute mark to put the Great Danes back in the led at 11-10.

Sean Eccles added yet another UAlbany hat trick scoring his third of the game at the 9:20 to give the Great Danes some breathing room at 12-10. Patterson continued the run with his fourth goal of the game, making it 13-10. Eccles was back at it again not too long after with his fourth of the game increasing the Great Danes lead to 14-10. Patterson continued the teammates’ back and forth scoring his fifth of the game to make it 15-10, putting the final nail in the coffin.

“We knew they were going to come out and play hard,” Eccles said. “We knew we were going to have to play 60 minutes and give it our all to get past them tonight.”

Faceoff specialist TD Ierlan finished the game 28 for 29 on faceoffs.

“We needed to get as many possessions as we could,” Ierlan said. “They played us really tough, my wings were there for outlets, and we needed all those extra possessions today.”

Conor Fields was a non factor for the Great Danes, registering only two shots on goal. Fields was taken off the field in the four period appearing to be bothered by the same knee that has been bothering him throughout the year.

This was the River Hawks first appearance in the America East tournament.

The Great Danes will take on #2 seed Vermont in the America East tournament on Saturday at Tom and Mary Casey Stadium. The Great Danes defeated Vermont 21-5 early in the season in Albany.

“This [Vermont] is a good team, we got our work cut out for us,” Coach Marr said. “We are excited, this is why we play, we want to be in the championship situation and wanna be in a game that is going to mean something.”

Going into the semi final, the Great Danes were the #1 seed in the America East and the #5 ranked team in the country at 12-2, 5-1 in the America East. UMass Lowell was the #4 seed at 8-7 overall and 3-3 in the America East.

Elijah Casper is a sports reporter for the Albany Student Press and co-anchor on ATV 360.

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