WALTHAM, Mass. – A game between two of the top men's lacrosse teams in the Northeast-10 lived up to its billing, but it was No. 7 Merrimack that came away with a close 7-6 victory over Bentley in an intense matchup Wednesday night.
Leading 7-6 with under two minutes left in the game Merrimack had the ball in the offensive end. But Falcons defensemen Connor Holbrook (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan) caused a turnover and goalie Josh Baker (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) picked up the loose ball to give Bentley possession.
After a successful clear Bentley called a timeout with 42 seconds left to set up its final possession. Bentley passed the ball around looking for a good shot, but compact Merrimack defense prevented them from getting a good look from close range. Bentley had to settle for a long-range shot by freshman David Phelps (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) that was saved by Merrimack goalie Dom Madonna with nine seconds left, enabling his team to run out the clock and hang on for the victory.
Both teams came into the game with identical 5-1 Northeast-10 records, but Merrimack's win improves its mark to 6-1.
The Falcons led 2-0 after the first quarter on goals junior Bobby Hinds (West Hartford, Conn./Conard) and freshman John Wheeler (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough). But the Warriors stormed back with a five-goal second period to Bentley's one goal, giving them a 5-3 lead at the break. Five different players had the goals for Merrimack.
But Bentley got the better of the third quarter. Junior Cutler Dimond (Marblehead, Mass./Tabor Academy) had a man-up goal 50 seconds into the quarter. Wheeler followed up with a goal a little over three minutes later to tie the game 5-5. Neither team scored for more than eight minutes, but Wheeler found the back of the net again at the 2:44 mark to give the Falcons a 6-5 lead. However, Merrimack's Tim Towler scored the tying goal with 1:30 left in the quarter.
Senior midfielder Mike Perdie scored what would be the game-winning goal for Merrimack at the 12:59 mark of the fourth quarter to put them ahead 7-6. That was the final goal of the night.
Bentley will next take the field on Saturday against Assumption. Game time is 1:00 pm