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Canisius men’s lacrosse wins 2018 MAAC Championship

CANISIUS COLLEGE ATHLETICS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Canisius sophomore Mathieu Boissonneault's goal six seconds into overtime lifted the Golden Griffins to a 10-9 victory over Detroit Mercy and allowed the Blue and Gold to win the 2018 MAAC Men's Lacrosse Championship Saturday afternoon in West Long Branch, N.J. With the win, Canisius has secured a spot in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship field.
 
This is the third MAAC title in program history and the first for the Griffs since 2012.
 
Boissonneault's game-winner at the 3:54 mark of overtime came after the Whitby, Ontario native intercepted a Detroit Mercy pass off the face-off and fired a shot into the wide-open goal from eight yards out. The goal was the second of the day and the 37th of the season for Boissonneault, and it capped a furious Canisius comeback that saw the Griffs score the final three goals of the game in the closing 2:44 of the contest for the team's fifth one-goal win of the season.
 
Detroit Mercy (9-7) took a 9-7 lead with 10:59 left to play after Seth Mendell gained possession of a blocked shot and snuck around the crease to beat Canisius goalie Liam Ganzhorn for his second goal of the contest. The Titans would hold that two-goal cushion for the next 8:21 of game play before senior Ryan McKee found the back of the net to make the score 9-8 in favor of Detroit Mercy with just 2:38 left in regulation time. The Titans won the ensuing face-off, but were called for a shot clock violation with 1:04 left on the game clock, which set up Canisius' tying goal.
 
After the Griffs (8-8) took a timeout with 53 seconds left in regulation time, senior Connor Kearnan muscled his way to the front of the goal and scored his second marker of the day, beating Detroit Mercy goalie Logan Shamblin from close range. The Titans won the next face-off and worked their way down the field for a shot, by Ganzhorn was up to the task, making the most important of his 12 saves on the day to keep the game knotted at 9-9. Boissonneault was credited with the ground ball off that save with six seconds left in the fourth quarter, and despite moving the ball down the field, the Griffs were unable to get off a quality shot before the horn sounded to send the game into overtime.
 
Canisius sophomore Carter Stefaniak scored four of the Griffs' first five goals of the contest in the game's first two frames to give the Blue and Gold a 5-2 lead with 11:22 left to play before intermission. Detroit Mercy responded with the contest's next four tallies to take a 6-5 lead into the locker room at halftime, but Kearnan's first goal of the day at the 5:22 mark of the third quarter knotted the contest at 6-6. Back-to-back goals by the Titans in the span of 1:39 covering the closing moments of the third and the opening portion of the fourth gave Detroit Mercy its first two-goal lead of the day, but McKee stopped that scoring run at the 12:33 mark of the fourth off an assist by Kearnan to make the score 8-7.

Stefaniak led all players with four goals in the win for Canisius, while Kearnan added a four-point effort on the power of his two goals and two assists to earn Tournament MVP honors. Senior captain Stephen Coss had two assists in the winning effort for Canisius, which ended up out-shooting Detroit Mercy 34-31 for the game, while the Titans held a 21-19 advantage in shots on goal.
 
Head coach Mark Miyashita's Postgame Comments
"
Detroit Mercy is a great team and they played a great game. They were a tough team throughout the season and today was no different. We knew it was going to be a one or two-goal game and ultimately it was. Our guys never wavered in their confidence and in their faith in our game plan or one another and that's a testament to the seniors who have brought us here and will continue to lead us into next week.
 
"It's a little surreal right now, the fact that it happened. All the hard work these guys put in, this is the payoff. We talked about the first step, which was qualifying for the MAAC Championship. The second step was winning the semifinal game and we said that if we did that, then we would worry about that third step on gameday. The guys really battled together today. It's an amazing feeling. I'm proud of every single guy man in our locker room and I'm looking forward to the fact that we're not done and we've still got more lacrosse to play."
 
Game Notes
• Canisius is now tied with Siena, and former league members Mount Saint Mary's and Providence, with three MAAC Men's Lacrosse championships.
• The Griffs are now 3-0 all-time in MAAC Men's Lacrosse Championship games.
• Saturday's game marked the first time the MAAC Men's Lacrosse Championship was decided in overtime.
• Canisius is the fourth No. 4 seed to win a MAAC Championship in men's lacrosse, and the first since Detroit Mercy did it in 2013.
• This was the 11th all-time meeting between these two programs, and the second meeting in postseason history. Detroit Mercy leads the all-time series 6-5, but the Griffs are 2-0 in MAAC Tournament play.
• Canisius has won each of its last two MAAC Championships by the score of 10-9. Canisius also defeated Siena 10-9 in 2012 for the program's second MAAC crown.
• The five one-goal wins for the 2018 team are the most for the program since the Griffs won six one-goal games in 2010.
• Seniors Ryan McKee and Steven Coss and sophomore Carter Stefaniak joined Tournament MVP senior Connor Kearnan on the All-Tournament Team. 
 Sophomore Carter Stefaniak posted his seventh hat trick of the season with his four-goal effort on Saturday.
• With his two assists on Saturday, senior Connor Kearnan moved into a tie with Randy Mearns for first place on the program's single-season assists chart with 49.
• Kearnan also moved into a tie with Nick LoCoco (2008-11) for second place all-time with 88 career helpers while his four-point effort catapulted him into a tie with Ned Franz (1993-95) for fifth place on the career points list (177).
• Sophomore Mathieu Boissonneault recorded multiple goals for the 12th time this season with his two-goal effort on Saturday.
• With his two goals on Saturday, McKee moved within two points of the 100-point plateau for his career.
• Senior Liam Ganzhorn tallied double-digit saves for the eighth time this season and the 22nd time in his career as he finished with 12 saves on Saturday.
 
Up Next
Canisius will learn its game date, game location and time and first-round opponent when the NCAA officially reveals the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse bracket Sunday, May 6 at 9 p.m. That announcement will be made live on ESPNU.