By Matt Noonan
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men’s lacrosse tournament begins tomorrow with four local squads competing for a championship.
Similar to the women’s bracket, Emmanuel College earned the top spot with a 10-0 conference mark. It’s been an exciting season for the Saints, who’ll begin tournament play against Johnson & Wales University on Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. in Boston. The Saints finished third in goals (152) and fifth in assists (91). They averaged 10.13 goals per game and haven’t dropped a contest since Sunday, March 9.
Chris Curtis paced the Saints through 15 games with 35 points (23 goals, 12 assists), while Tony Cibelli registered 33 points on 17 goals and 16 assists. Austin Lauzier, the team’s goaltender, has logged 803:33 in the cage and recorded 120 saves. The Bedford, New Hampshire native also owns a 60.9 save percentage, too.
Johnson & Wales trailed Emmanuel College in their first meeting, 3-2, before falling to the Saints, 11-4. Kaile Maclean-Daley netted four goals for the Saints, while Ryan Sabuda finished with two tallies and two helpers.
Norwich University will host Mount Ida in a tournament championship rematch from last year at 7 p.m. in Vermont. Last season, Josh Menge initiated a 3-0 late in the final session that helped the Cadets seal the win. Menge won’t be on the field during this particular matchup (Menge graduated at the conclusion of last season), but will be rooting for his Cadets, which finished their season on a four-game winning streak.
Mount Ida’s Kyle Cordaro is third in the conference in save percentage (64.6%) and recorded 11 saves against the Cadets. Zach Rosen leads the Green and White with 36 points on 20 goals and 16 helpers.
Becker will welcome St. Joseph’s (Maine) to Leicester for a 4 p.m. face-off. The Hawks recorded the second most overall wins (11) and went 7-3 in GNAC play. Becker has earned some impressive victories this season over Norwich and Mount Ida, but also defeated the Monks, 4-2. Matt Matson jumpstarted the 3-0 run that helped Becker overcome a 2-1 deficit.
Daniel Johnson and David Deschenes combined for 125 points (79 goals, 46 assists) in 15 contests for the Hawks, while Jeffrey Candee turned away 127 shots. Expect all three players to be a factor in Wednesday’s first-round matchup.
Finally, Lasell will welcome Rivier to Newton for a 3:30 p.m. start. The Lasers are coming off an 8-7 setback to Emmanuel last Saturday, but will look to rebound against a squad they defeated earlier this season.
Lasell finished with 161 goals (second amongst all GNAC squads) and first in assists (116). Pat Egan is currently fifth in the conference in helpers (21), but second on the squad. Andrew Suh and Casey Sullivan each recorded 49 points, but Sullivan is first in goals (33), while Suh leads all players in assists (26).
GNAC Men’s Lax Tournament Schedule:
* Rivier @ Lasell, 3:30 p.m. (Wednesday, Apr. 23)
* St. Joe’s (Maine) @ Becker, 4 p.m. (Wednesday, Apr. 23)
* Mount Ida @ Norwich, 7 p.m. (Wednesday, Apr. 23)
* JWU @ Emmanuel, 7 p.m. (Wednesday, Apr. 23)
* Emmanuel/JWU vs. Mount Ida/Norwich (Friday, Apr. 25)
* Becker/St. Joe’s (Maine) vs. Lasell/Rivier (Friday, Apr. 25)
* Winner of 1st Semifinal vs. Winner of 2nd Semifinals (Saturday, Apr. 26) at the highest seed