HENNIKER, N.H. – Castleton University played with New England College through the entire first half, but a transition play at the end of the second quarter seemingly swung the momentum towards the home team, as the Pilgrims pulled away for a 12-3 victory over the Spartans in the championship game of the 2017 North Atlantic Conference Men's Lacrosse Tournament at Don Melander Field.
New England College (13-5) jumped on the board 4:15 into the game at Daniel Medvetz set up William Pendleton for the Pilgrims' first goal. Less than a minute later, Sam Siegel tied the game for Castleton, but Matt Richard put NEC back on top, 2-1, with 8:07 remaining in the first quarter.
The Spartans would once again tie the game at 2-2 as Siegel scored his second goal of the game off an assist by Nik Rancourt. Just over three minutes later, the Pilgrims would take the lead for good, as Medvetz earned his second assist of the day in setting up Richard's second goal of the game.
Late in the second quarter, back-to-back shots by Louis Alhage were turned aside by Pilgrim goalie William Platt. After the second Alhage shot, Will Hay raced down the field and found Sean Largay, who launched a shot into the back of the net with five seconds remaining in the first half to increase the NEC lead to 4-2.
That goal seemingly gave New England College the boost it needed, as the Pilgrims scored six goals in the third period without giving one up to the Spartans. Three of the goals came in the final minute of the third quarter, with Richard assisting on two of them.
New England College held possession for significant periods of time in the fourth quarter, while Castleton was unlucky with its shots in the final period, hitting the post three times. Both Richard and Largay completed their hat tricks with goals in the fourth period before Peyton Faasse scored to snap NEC's 10-0 scoring run.
Castleton collected twice as many ground balls as New England College (33-16), won 13-of-18 faceoffs, and was 16-for-17 on clear attempts, but the Spartans could not overcome the Pilgrim defense. Platt finished with 16 saves for an .842 save percentage, and Connor Fries caused six turnovers to go along with a team-high six ground balls.
Joshua Gosselin, named to the All-Tournament Team, once again led Castleton with six ground balls, while Alhage finished with three shots, all on goal, two ground balls, and two caused turnovers. Brandon Myron, also a member of the All-Tournament Team along with Malik Hines, made seven saves in net for the Spartans.
Castleton concludes the 2017 season with a 10-9 overall record.