No. 16 St. Lawrence is headed back to the NCAA tournament's round of 16, as the Saints overwhelmed Wheaton by the score of 8-0 in the second round on Sunday afternoon at Sandy MacAllaster Field. Sophomore Ryan Grant scored his first career hat trick for the Scarlet and Brown, while senior captain Andrew Bednarsky scored twice including the game-winner.
The eight goals are the most for St. Lawrence in an NCAA tournament game in the program's history. The win moves head coach Bob Durocher's team to 17-2-2, while Wheaton's season comes to an end with a 17-6-0 mark.
"I thought our guys were focused going in to the game [Sunday], but it's been tough for us to score goals all year. To get five in a half was very unexpected," said Durocher. "We used the field well, had good runs off the ball and good execution on our corner kick plays. Once you get rolling like that, in that environment, you just want to keep rolling."
The Saints controlled the tempo throughout the contest on the slick, grass surface, finishing with a 24-4 advantage in shots attempted and a 13-0 lead in shots on goal. St. Lawrence also had the only five corner kicks in the game.
St. Lawrence needed just 5:45 to get on the board as Bednarsky scored his eighth goal of the season. Sophomore Morgan Smith started the play, beating his defender down the left side of the field and tapping a pass to classmate Praveen Balakumaran on the left baseline. Balakumaran gracefully one-touched a pass to a centering Bednarsky, who hit a low shot past Wheaton goalkeeper Matt Dickey to put his team up 1-0.
Bednarsky would add to the lead less than 10 minutes later, this time off a corner kick from Smith. Smith launched a beautiful corner to the far post where Bednarsky headed a shot into the goal for his ninth of the season and second of the game.
One of Wheaton's best chances to score in the game came with under 25 minutes left, when Ben Altneu threw the ball over the shoulder of Scott Enman, who shielded the ball away from his defender to create a one-on-one with Saints' goalkeeper Aaron Costello. Enman, however, had too strong of a touch on his approach to the goal and Costello came out to easily collect the ball and end the scoring threat.
St. Lawrence would add to its cushion in the 35th minute when Grant scored his second goal of the season. Noah Bunton hit a corner kick to the middle of the box where Rob Brandell headed a pass to Grant in front of the net. Grant blasted a shot past Dickey for the third of the game.
Under three minutes later, St. Lawrence made it 4-0 on Rob Brandell's second goal of the season. Bunton sent a beautiful pass through the Lyon defense to Brandell, who one-touched a shot into the corner of the net. Bunton would score his first collegiate goal less than five minutes later to bring the score to 5-0. Mark Provost started the play, beating his defender at midfield down the right side, and then sent a cross to Bunton, who collected the pass and sent a low shot into the net.
Wheaton's struggles would continue in the second half after Noah Kossoff was sent off the field with this second yellow. Playing 11-on-10, St. Lawrence would score three more times to cap the victory at 8-0. Grant scored goals :30 second apart to complete the hat trick. In the 73rd minute, Seyefe Brouk hit a hard shot that Dickey initially saved, but Grant was there to hit in the rebound. In the 74th minute, first-year student Christian Barral-Arteta sent a pass through the Lyon defense to Grant, who completed the hat trick with his third goal of the game.
Junior Sars Bowman would tack on his first goal with the Saints to cap the game's scoring off a feed from J.T. Martell with 4:01 remaining.
Dickey finished with five saves in the game for Wheaton, while Aaron Costello was not forced to make a save in the shutout.