NEW LONDON, Conn. – Blake Boutiette (Burrillville, R.I./Burrillville) scored the game-winning goal with 32 seconds remaining in the first overtime period on Wednesday to give Becker College an 11-10 victory over Mitchell College in the semifinals of the 2016 New England Collegiate Conference Men's Lacrosse Championship.
The second-seeded Hawks will advance to the title game for the second straight season. Becker, the NECC champion in 2015, will defend its crown at top-seeded Regis College on Saturday, April 30.
Daniel Johnson (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) led all scorers with six goals and added an assist to pace Becker (6-11 overall). Boutiette and Blake Gordon (East Greenbush, N.Y./LaSalle Institute) each netted a pair of scores while Cruz Desrochers (Malden, Mass./Malden) contributed a goal. Ryan Kearney (Katonah, N.Y./Somers) finished with three assists while Boutiette had two.
Owen LaPorte (Farmington, Conn./Farmington) netted four goals to lead the Mariners, who ended the season with a record of 5-8. Dan DiGioia (Glen Ridge, N.J./Glen Ridge) recorded a hat trick to go with three assists and scored the game-tying goal with 35 seconds remaining in regulation. Jacob Setzko (Farmington, Conn./Farmington) added two goals and a helper while Aaron Sladyk (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) rounded out the Mitchell goal scorers.
Becker controlled the opening quarter and led 3-0 at the end of one. Gordon put the Hawks on the scoreboard just 16 seconds into the contest, and Johnson later found Desrochers for the second score of the period. Boutiette followed with his first of the game—snagging a missed shot out of midair behind the cage and finishing with a wrap-around—with 4:35 remaining in the stanza.
After managing only three shots in the opening quarter, Mitchell settled in and outscored Becker 5-2 in the second to tie the game by halftime. LaPorte got the Mariners going with a score just 27 seconds into the period, and DiGioia followed with his first of the game just over two minutes later. Johnson and DiGioia then traded goals before Sladyk tied the game at 4-4 with 8:25 to play, and a man-up goal by LaPorte gave Mitchell its first lead of the day. The Hawks answered minutes later with an extra-man goal of their own, as Johnson tied the game at 5-5 off a feed from Matthew Genkos (Worcester, Mass./Doherty).
Becker scored four straight goals in the third to take its biggest lead at 10-6 with 4:45 to go in the quarter. Johnson potted three goals during the stretch, including a pair of man-up markers, while Gordon added the other. A goal by Setzko in the final minute cut the Mitchell deficit to three heading into the fourth period.
The Mariners accounted for all three tallies over the final 15 minutes of regulation. Scores by LaPorte and Setzko got Mitchell to within one with 8:52 remaining, but Becker played the possession game to run down the final minutes. The Mariners regained possession after a save by JD LeMay (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./John Jay) and cleared the ball down the field with under a minute to go. A shot by Setzko was blocked, but Kyle Marsh (Oakdale, Conn./Montville) picked up a big ground ball and fed DiGioia for the tying score.
The Hawks ended regulation with a man advantage and carried over possession to the extra period. Becker got off two shots on its initial possession but came up empty, as one went high and the other was stopped by LeMay. The Mariners then got a crack at the game winner but couldn't get a shot on net.
A successful Becker clear led to the final goal. Jordan Mudd (Decatur, Ga./Decatur) brought the ball out to near midfield before passing it off to Kearney, who brought it down the middle of the field and into Mitchell territory. He faked a shot to draw a defender before dumping it off to Boutiette on the right side. Boutiette drew out the goalie with a shot fake before ripping a left-handed shot into the top-left corner of the goal for the winner.
Mudd finished with 12 saves against 39 shots to pick up the win in goal. Kearney finished with a game-high 15 ground balls while Bryan Parsons (Shrewsbury, Mass./Hebron Academy) added 12 ground balls and five caused turnovers, and Nicholas Mariano (Cranston, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) won 18 of 22 face-offs in the contest.
LeMay made 18 saves against 43 shots to keep Mitchell in the game. Brian Jordan (Wappingers Falls, N.Y./John Jay) scooped up a team-high nine ground balls and caused six turnovers.