ROCHESTER - The St. Lawrence University mens lacrosse team only trailed 7-6 at halftime to nationally-ranked No. 1 RIT on Friday in the 2014 Liberty League Semifinals.
However, the host Tigers pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Saints 7-1 in the fourth quarter en route to a 19-9 win.
RIT, which was led offensively by Ryan Lees four goals and Casey Jacksons six points (3g,3a), remains perfect on the season at 17-0 and will face No. 9 Union College in the conference title game on Sunday. Meanwhile, St. Lawrence was led by Conor Healeys hat trick, but saw its season come to an end at 8-6 overall.
Tommy Hovey added two goals and an assists for the Saints, while Charlie Jennings and Charlie Duprey each had a goal and a helper. Nick Ford made 13 saves for the visitors, who were outshot 55-35 in the game including an 18-3 mark in the fourth quarter. RIT finished with leads in face-offs won (22-10) and ground balls (53-45) and allowed St. Lawrence to complete only 14-of-23 clears in the game.
The Tigers, who defeated St. Lawrence 19-12 in the regular season finale last weekend, grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the first 5:50 of regulation. Though Healey and Duprey would score to cut into the deficit, Lees goal with 38 seconds left in the quarter put the home team up 5-2 after one.
The Scarlet and Brown would rebound with one of its best quarters of the season in the second, though, and climbed back into contention by outscoring RIT 4-2. With RIT ahead 7-3, the Saints rallied to close the period with three consecutive goals to make it a one-goal game at intermission. William Burchenal scored an unassisted goal at 8:20, followed by Hovey with 2:55 left in half. Healey then capped the scoring, coming from behind the net and scoring on Pat Johnston with 29 seconds left before halftime to make it a 7-6 game.
RIT answered in style in the third quarter, outscoring the Saints 5-2 to regain a solid four-goal cushion at 12-8. Hovey and Jonathan Fairbanks scored for St. Lawrence, keeping their team in the game heading to the fourth. Unfortunately, the Tigers would put it away with a dominant seven-goal run to open the quarter. Seven different players scored for the home team, including a pair of man-up and a man-down goal as the Tigers sailed out to a 19-8 lead. Jennings goal in the final minute brought the game to its final of 19-9.
RIT will host Union on Sundayfor the conferences automatic bid in Rochesterat noon.