No. 3 Limestone hammers No. 9 Pfeiffer for eighth consecutive crown
GAFFNEY, S.C. -- Playing in a steady rain, an 11-goal second half blew open a two-goal game at the half as No. 3 Limestone (13-1, 4-0 CC) pounded No. 9 Pfeiffer (9-4, 2-2 CC) 16-6 to claim their eighth consecutive Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship on Saturday.
Todd Nakasuji and Mike Messenger manned the offense as each produced four goals, two assists and a pair of groundballs while Kyle Rhatigan finished with two goals and three assists along with three groundballs.
Vinny Ricci drilled three goals and had two groundballs and Jamar Peete and Colton Watkinson each had a goal and two assists.
Kevin Reisman was once again dominant at the center "X", going 14-of-23 and picking up 10 groundballs. Patrick Sheridan played 57:44 and allowed six goals while making six saves to get the win and improve to 13-1 on the season.
Messenger got the Saints on the board early on as he drove home an unassisted score a minute into the game before Pfeiffer answered back to tie it the 7:42 mark. It wouldn't stay that way very long as Ricci connected on a pass from Peete 12 seconds later and Messenger followed with another at the beginning of the second quarter (13:47) for a 3-1 lead.
The Falcons would fight back following that goal as Spencer Allen, who assisted on the first score, found Robert Hope at the 13:28 mark before Rhatigan connected with Nakasuji at 4:30 to neutralize that score and leave it at 4-2. Allen would strike again with 2:24 left in the half as he setup Derek Thomas' goal to draw to within 4-3.
Less than a minute later, Rhatigan would take advantage of a pass from Watkinson right in front of the crease and, while facing away from the keeper, proceed to rifle the ball past his right ankle to give the Saints a 5-3 advantage. That would be the margin they would take to the half as Pfeiffer was just a second too late on what would have been a goal at the end of the first 30 minutes.
The teams traded goals to start the second half as Ricci connected for the Saints while Allen took it himself for to make it 6-4 with 6:11 left in the period. At that point the Falcons would get their wings clipped as Limestone fired off eight straight goals to expand their lead to an insurmountable 14-4 with 8:41 to play. During that stretch, Messenger and Nakasuji each delivered a pair of goals and an assist.
From there, the result would not be in doubt, despite back-to-back scores by Pfeiffer, as the Saints polished off the 16-6 victory.
Spencer Allen led Pfeiffer with a goal and three assists while Derek Thomas had three goals. Robert Hope added a goal and an assist along with six groundballs and Matthew Michaeli had the only other score. Khalid Stukes picked up five groundballs but won just 9-of-22 faceoffs. Mike Triolo added five groundballs and Hayden Kirk played all 60 minutes in goal, allowing 16 goals and making 10 saves to suffer the loss.