Men’s lacrosse: Amherst dominates Bates in a key NESCAC game

Eli Cooper of Bates College wins a faceoff against Dylan Finazzo of Amherst during the first half in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

LEWISTON — Amherst played nearly perfect in a crucial New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s lacrosse showdown against Bates College at Garcelon Field on Saturday.

The two teams entered the game in a four-way tie for second place in the NESCAC standings. The Mammonths still sits in a three-way tie for second after a 25-12 victory over the Bobcats.

Bates, meanwhile, falls to fifth behind first-place Tufts as well as Williams and Wesleyan, which also won Saturday to keep pace with the Mammoths.

Rocco Fantoni of Bates College zeroes in on Evan Wolf of Amherst during the first half in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

“I was really impressed with Amherst today, and if I am going to take any pride in this, it may be we brought out their best performance,” Bates coach Peter Lasagna said. “I wish they would have brought out our best performance. I thought they played great in every phase, they were just terrific.”

Evan Wolf had four goals and two assists for Amherst, while Jon Coffey added four goals, Ethan Kazmierski had three goals and an assist in the victory and Colin Minicus scored a hat trick.

“All of our best players were their best today,” Amherst coach Jon Thompson said. “We were great in between the lines today, we were great picking the ball up. I loved the way our defense played, I think that was one of our best defensive performances we’ve had for three quarters.

“It all went well today, I can’t point to one thing. Sometimes energy has something to do with winning, our energy was pretty good to start the game.”

Bates was led by Matt Chlastawa, who tallied two goals and five assists. Otis Klingbeil notched a hat trick and Brendan Mullally scored two goals.

The Mammoths jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead only 2:17 into the game as Wolf, Coffey and Chase Yager scored.

Eli Cooper of Bates College attempts to knock the ball loose from Grant Chryssicas’ grip during the first half in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Matt Chlastawa put the Bobcats on the board at the 3:03 mark of the opening quarter.

Amherst stretched the lead to 5-1 before the four-minute mark on goals by Coffey and Minicus.

Both teams settled in after the goalfest of the opening four minutes. Bates missed on a couple chances midway through the first quarter, but cut the deficit to 5-2 when Dahnique Brown-Jones found the back of the cage with 3:22 remaining.

Jimmy McAfee gave Amherst a 7-2 lead with a minute to go in the first quarter.

Chlastawa picked up his second goal of the contest, 1:04 into the second.

“Whenever they had a chance to close it to (three), it felt like we extended it to four,” Thompson said.

Frank Spitz of Bates College gets between Colin Minicus of Amherst and Bates goalie Rob Strain during the first half in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Amherst had two 3-0 runs in the second quarter. First, Trenton Shore, Ethan Kazmierski and Luke Mallette stretched the Mammoths’ lead to 10-3.

Steven Canale finished a feed from Chlastawa to get the Bobcats within six.

The second 3-0 run saw Kazmierski pick up his second goal and Coffey and Minicus tally their hat trick goals, and Amherst took a 13-4 lead into halftime.

Grant Chryssicas and Kazmierski scored early in the third quarter to stretch Amhert’s lead to 15-4.

“I would say the difference in the game, every time they had a good offensive opportunity, they scored,” Lasagna said. “When we had good opportunities early, we didn’t (score).

“I thought it changed the way we played and I thought we got a little selfish. We move the ball around very well when we are at our best. We sort of stopped doing that, and, boy, did Amherst show you what offense looks like when the ball moves well.”

William Holland of Bates College plays defense against Amherst during the first half in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Klingbeil stopped the 5-0 run when he scored his fist goal of the game at 4:27 mark of the third quarter on a man-up situation. The goal was assisted by Andrew Small.

Klingbeil finished the game with a hat trick, while Small had a goal in the game.

Matt Solberg and Wolf scored in a 19-second span to stretch the lead to 17-5 as by the 5:50 mark of the third quarter.

Brendan Mullally scored for Bates to make it 17-6 less than two minutes later. He scored again in the fourth quarter.

Wolf capped off his hat trick with 5:46 remaining in the third to give Amerst a 18-6 lead before Jack Scribner scored for the Bobcats late in the third.

Wolf picked up his fourth goal of the contest with 47 seconds remaining as the Mammoths took a 19-7 lead into the fourth quarter.

Coffey scored his fourth goal of the game for the Mammoths, and Jack Patton and Brogan Mahon made it 22-8 early in the fourth quarter.

Dylan Peabody, Shore and Jonathan Endicott all scored for Amherst in the fourth.

Curtis Knapton had a goal in the fourth for Bates.

Bates closes the regular season Wednesday at home against Colby at 4 p.m. The NESCAC playoffs start next Saturday, with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinals games.

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