MANSFIELD, Conn. – In a match featuring men's lacrosse teams looking to break losing streaks, Eastern Connecticut State University got three goals in a span of four minutes in the third quarter from first-year sophomore transfer Tim Reilly (Hanover, MA) and went on to a 14-9 non-conference victory over Wheaton College (MA) Tuesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Tyler Vallie (34) battles Paul Gray of Wheaton while Steven Nixon (4) prepares to move in on this faceoff Tuesday at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. (Photo by Marissa Malouf)
With Eastern (3-3) leading 5-4, Reilly scored three times, senior All-America Mike Devine (Cheshire) added one and senior Mike Jordan (Cheshire) contributed a goal and assist in a five-goal run in a span of less than seven minutes to enable the Warriors to end a three-game losing streak and extend Wheaton's (2-5) skid to five straight.
A key sequence for Eastern came early in the third quarter and gave the Warriors the lead for good. Trailing 3-2, Wheaton jumped out on top first after the break, tying the game on freshman Barrett Jenness's sixth goal of the season, but the hosts answered twice in a span of 19 seconds. Junior Steven Nixon (Foxborough, MA) gave the Warriors the lead for good just 19 seconds after Jenness's game-tying strike , and after Wheaton was penalized 18 seconds later, Jordan responded with the first of his two extra-man goals soon after to push the Warriors into a two-goal advantage, 5-3, four minutes into the third quarter.
Wheaton trailed by as few as only one goal only once thereafter, and Reilly restored the two-goal Eastern edge with his first of three in that four-minute span.
Wheaton sophomore Paul Gray won 13 of 19 faceoffs for the Lyons, who remained within striking distance in the fourth quarter by scoring two extra-man goals. Freshman defenseman Christopher Laudenbach scooped up six ground balls, and senior Cam Hanlon came off the bench for four ground balls, a goal, and two assists.
Sophomore Blake Smaldone (Hamilton, MA) and Brendan Gillotti (Danbury) split time in net for Eastern, combining on five saves, while sophomore Ryan Clair (Bloomfield Hills, MI) stopped 16 shots for the Lyons. Gillotti allowed only three Wheaton goals on 11 third-quarter shots and backstopped the team into a 10-5 lead entering the final 15 minutes.
First-year sophomore transfer Tyler Vallie (Orange) picked up eight ground balls, junior defenseman Travis Tiger (Ridgefield) five and freshman Quincy Pecora (North Haven) four for Eastern. Vallie, Pecora and sophomore Cody Carbone (North Reading, MA) all recorded their first goals in Eatern uniforms, and senior pre-season All-America Tyler Fresen (Newington) handed out three assists to improve his team-leading total to ten.
Junior Matthew Hillman upped his team-leading goal total to 18 with four goals for Wheaton , but three of his goals came after the Lyons were down by a score of 10-5 in the final minute of the third quarter.
The Warriors re-gained their winning ways against Wheaton after the Lyons ended a ten-game losing streak at the hands of Eastern with a 12-11 triumph at Norton, MA a year ago.
Eastern hosts the University of New England Thursday at 2 p.m.