Thistle, Lomas lead High Point surge in come-from-behind win versus Mercer
MACON, Ga. -- High Point scored the game's final three goals to defeat Mercer 12-10 on Sunday. It is the first road win for the program.
“It was a hard-fought win against a future conference opponent,” head coach Jon Torpey said. “We went down early and fought back the whole time. The guys dug in and it felt great to get our first road win.”
Freshman Dan Lomas tallied five points on four goals and one assist and redshirt freshman Mitchell Dupere added one goal and three assists. Sophomore Matt Thistle had two goals and two assists, including the game winner. Sophomore Austin Geisler made 12 saves in the win.
Chris Baxa led Mercer with four goals and one assist and Timmy Geran added two goals. Mike Nugent made 18 saves for the Bears.
Junior Bucky Smith scored an unassisted goal with 2:27 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 10. Thistle scored the game-winner in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Lomas added an insurance goal with 5:45 to play to secure the win.
The win improved HPU's record to 3-8 while Mercer dropped to 3-6.
Freshman Jamie Piluso led the Panthers' faceoff efforts, winning 15 of 26 opportunities. He also led the team with nine ground balls, scored one goal, had one assist and caused two turnovers.
High Point went 8-for-11 on clear attempts while Mercer was 14-for-20.
Geran scored back-to-back goals to open the game for Mercer. Lomas put High Point on the board with an unassisted goal at 8:51 in the first quarter. Cole Branch sent a pass from behind the goal to Baxa in the right alley. Baxa fired a shot in to make it a 3-1 game. Michael Messenger fought through traffic in front of the crease and fired in a low shot for his first goal of the game to make is 3-2 with 5:50 left in the first quarter.
Mercer went on 3-0 run to open up a 6-2 lead in the second quarter. With 3:22 left in the period, Smith scored for the Panthers to make it a 6-3 game. Dupere ran behind the goal with the ball and assisted on Smith's score. Mercer answered with a goal by Baxa. Baxa caused a turnover on HPU's clear attempt and scored to make Mercer's lead 7-3.
In the final 1:07 of the second quarter, HPU scored four consecutive goals to tie the game at seven. Dupere passed to Thistle at the left post and Thistle shot as he was spinning to the right for the first goal. Piluso won the next faceoff and took it down the field for a goal with one minute on the clock. Lomas passed to Messenger, who fired in a shot with 42 seconds on the clock to cut Mercer's lead to 7-6. Piluso won the next faceoff allowing HPU to set up its offense. HPU tied the game at seven with 30 seconds left in the second quarter. Lomas passed to Thistle in front of the crease for the tying goal.
Messenger gave HPU the lead two minutes in to the third quarter. He caused Geran to turn the ball over, picked up the ground ball and passed ahead to Lomas who was one-on-one with the goalie. Lomas scored to give HPU an 8-7 lead.
Baxa caused a turnover on an HPU clear attempt and found Cole Branch for a Mercer goal with 12:59 to play in the third that tied the game at eight. Mercer took a 10-9 lead with 7:18 in the third. After five scoreless minutes, Smith scored after dodging past two defenders to tie the game at 10 with 2:27 left in the quarter.
Lomas forced the Mercer goalie to turn the ball over right in front of the cage. Thistle picked up the ground ball and shot in to the open net to give High Point an 11-10 lead with 12:07 in the fourth quarter.
Lomas grabbed a pass from Dupere in the left alley and shot across his body to make it a 12-10 game with 5:45 to play.
Messenger finished the game with two goals, one assist and three ground balls. Lomas picked up seven ground balls and two caused turnovers. Smith also scored two goals and one ground ball.