2013-05-20 / Sports

HEARTBREAKER Limestone men lose OT classic in semifinals


ERIE, Pa. – Neither team would give up and neither would go away. It quite literally came down to who scored last as No. 2 Limestone could not withstand a late rally from No. 1 Mercyhurst, which recovered from a two-goal deficit in the final minute of regulation before earning an 18-17 victory on Saturday that sent them to the NCAA Division II Men's Lacrosse National Championship Game.

Following numerous ties and lead changes, a two goal burst by junior attack Todd Nakasuji with 10:08 remaining left Limestone (16-2) with what would seem to be an insurmountable 15-13 lead. However, Mercyhurst came right back with back-to-back scores as Deven Alves and Jake McAndrew brought it back even at 15-15.

As had become common with ties in the game – it would not last. Within less than a minute, freshman midfielder Reid Reinholdt drilled home the go-ahead goal at 5:51 and was followed just 49 seconds later by senior attack Corey Rich off a pass from senior attack Riley Loewen to make it 17-15.

Limestone (16-2) then stepped up the defensive intensity as they held Mercyhurst scoreless until the final minute of regulation. For that final minute, however, the Lakers got it done on offense. Zac Reid delivered his seventh goal of the game with 58 seconds on the clock to close to within 17-16.

Following that goal, the 'Hurst capitalized on a Saints turnover deep in the MU zone with just 13 seconds remaining. James Chayka then raced downfield and converted on a quick shot with four seconds left to tie the game at 17-17 and force an unlikely overtime.

That goal would be crucial.

Senior faceoff specialist Jake Ternosky won the opening faceoff of sudden victory overtime and charged down the field, nearly ending the game on a quick shot of his own. Following that impressive save, Mercyhurst, which faced a similar situation in last week's 10-9 overtime victory over No. 10 Lake Erie, cleared the ball to midfield before taking a timeout .

Out of that break, the Lakers worked the ball around the offensive zone before it landed in the stick of Deven Alves. He found the back of the net on his own at 2:56 to lock up a improbable 18-17 overtime victory and send Mercyhurst to the NCAA Division II National Championship Game for the second time in three seasons.

Rich led the way on offense for the Saints with six points on three goals and three assists but it was Ternosky that gave the ball to that potent offense. On the day, he won 28-of-39 faceoffs and picked up a careerhigh 17 groundballs while adding a goal and an assist. He topped his career-best for groundballs by six, surpassing the 11 he had earlier this year against Merrimack on March 9.

Among those that benefited from Ternosky's work at the center “X” were Nakasuji who delivered four goals and senior midfielder Tor Reinholdt, who finished with a pair of goals and two assists. Loewen notched three scores and an assist and Reinholdt added seven groundballs. Reid Reinholdt had a pair of scores and an assist. Senior goalkeeper Christian Dzwilewski played all 61:04 and made 13 saves while allowing 18 goals to suffer the loss.

Two teams not known for giving up a great deal of goals certainly reinforced that perception throughout the first quarter. Three minutes in, Mercyhurst's Jake McAndrew got the Lakers on the board with an unassisted score at 11:59 before Kyle Rhatigan tied it at 1- 1 with an unassisted score of his own at 9:07.

From there, both club's defense would step up as neither team found the back of the net over the next 7:47. That stretch would be broken by the Laker's Deven Alves who made it 2-1 with 1:20 remaining in the quarter.

After closing out the frame with that narrow margin and just three total goals between the teams, the second quarter proved to be nothing like the first. With 7:28 on the clock, Limestone's Corey Rich took it himself to knot the score at 2-2. That would be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of scoring as the flood gates opened, first on the Mercyhurst side.

Just 17 seconds later, MU's Brian Scheetz kicked off a run of three goals. It would then be the Saints turn to light up the scoreboard three goal run that came in a span of just 1:41 to send the teams to the break deadlocked.

Yet another Zac Reid goal knotted the score at 11- 11 but it would be Ternosky who initiated another Limestone offensive outburst. Off his face off win he got the ball to Rich who quickly found Nakasuji directly in front of the net for lacrosse's version of a hockey one-timer, giving them a 12-11 advantage that they would take into the fourth period.

Score and equalizer would continue to be the order of the day as Mercyhurst tied the game at 12-12. Five seconds later, Ternosky won the faceoff and charged downfield for his third goal of the year for a 13-12 advantage to set the stage for a wild finish in what is certain to become a classic semifinal match.

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