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Monmouth edges Canisius men’s lacrosse in regular season finale


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Monmouth opened the fourth quarter with three unanswered goals to take the lead and held off a late Canisius rally to post a 13-12 victory in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men's lacrosse action Friday at the Demske Sports Complex.
Playing in front of a national audience on ESPNU, Dylan Schulte scored four goals, including a pair of tallies during the fourth-quarter run, and added an assist to lead the Hawks (7-7, 3-3 MAAC) to the one-goal triumph and the No. 3 seed for the 2018 MAAC Men's Lacrosse Championship next week on its home turf.   
Anthony Sardo pitched in three goals while Bryce Wasserman contributed five points on one goal and four assists.
Senior Ryan McKee and sophomore Carter Stefaniak notched four goals each for the Golden Griffins (6-8, 3-3 MAAC), who will enter the MAAC Championship as the No. 4 seed. Senior Connor Kearnan dished out five assists while McKee added a pair of helpers to finish with a game-high six points.
Trailing 11-10 at the start of the fourth, Schulte brought Monmouth level at the 8:27 mark of the frame before finding the back of the net nearly four minutes later to give the Hawks a 12-11 lead.
Sardo stretched the visiting team's advantage to two with his third of the game with 1:02 remaining, only to see McKee counter for Canisius less than 10 seconds later to make it a one-goal game.
The Griffs won the ensuing faceoff and had three chances to record the equalizer during the game's final possession, but Monmouth keeper Noah Lode made two saves and a last-second effort from Stefaniak was off the mark, allowing the Hawks to escape with the one-goal victory.
Earlier in the game, Canisius took advantage of goals from McKee, Stefaniak and sophomore Recce Eddy in the opening four minutes of the game to race out to an early 3-0 edge.
The Hawks responded to the Griffs opening salvo, rattling off four straight goals from four different goal scorers during a 3:30 stretch later in the quarter to take a 4-3 lead.
Stefaniak brought Canisius level before the end of the opening frame, scoring with 16 seconds remaining to send the game into the second quarter tied at 4-4.
The teams traded goals for a majority of the second stanza before Monmouth scored three of the last four goals of the frame, capped by a tally from Schulte with four seconds to play, to build a 10-8 lead heading into the halftime break.
Canisius duplicated its hot start to the contest in the beginning of the third, as goals by McKee and Stefaniak in a 48-second span early in the frame tied the game at 10-all before Stefaniak struck for a man-up tally with 18 seconds to play in the period, giving the Griffs an 11-10 lead and setting the stage for Monmouth's fourth quarter comeback.
Lode recorded 12 saves between the pipes for Monmouth while senior Liam Ganzhorn tallied nine stops in goal for Canisius.  
Head Coach Mark Miyashita's Postgame Comments
"It was a tremendous atmosphere today with the beautiful weather, a lot of fan support and an opportunity for us to showcase our program against the defending MAAC Tournament Champions on national television. We went toe-to-toe with them and battled to the end. We're disappointed in the result, but we're happy with the way we competed and that effort sets us up well for the MAAC Championship next week.
"We like to play on the edge in transition. We love to run the field and we got some turnovers and some opportunities that we did not cash in and unfortunately we gave some possessions back after that in terms of momentum and they were able to capitalize on the other end. When you play up-tempo lacrosse, those things are going to happen. We just have to try and minimize those so that they don't affect us on the scoreboard."
Game Notes
• Monmouth increased its lead in the all-time series against Canisius to 4-1 with Friday's victory.
• Friday's contest was the eighth game played by the Griffs this season to be decided by two goals or less. The loss moved Canisius to 4-4 in such games in 2018.
• Senior Ryan McKee established a career high with his six points on Friday. McKee now sits just six points away from becoming just the 21st player in program history to reach the 100-point plateau for his career.
• Sophomore Carter Stefaniak recorded five points in a game for the third time this season with his five-point effort on Friday (4g, 1a).
• Senior Connor Kearnan dished out three or more assists for the seventh time this season with his five assists on Friday. Kearnan, now at 44 assists this season, sits five helpers away from matching Randy Mearns' school mark for assists in a campaign (49 in 1990).
• With his five points on Friday, Kearnan moved into sole possession of fifth place on the program's career points chart (168).
• Sophomore Reece Eddy posted game highs of seven ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Up Next
• Canisius will be the No. 4 seed for the 2018 MAAC Men's Lacrosse Championship, scheduled for May 3-5 at Kessler Stadium on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.
• The Griffs will face top-seeded Quinnipiac in the first semifinal at Noon.
• The game will be shown live on ESPN3.

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