BENNINGTON — Mount Anthony lacrosse is locked into a top four seed in the Division II playoffs, but there is still work to be done during the final week of the regular season.
Coming off a pair of close losses last week at Woodstock (16-15) and at Burr and Burton (13-10), the Patriots had a get-right opportunity against St. Johnsbury (3-8) Monday afternoon on Veterans Memorial Field; they capitalized, defeating the Hilltoppers 19-2.
“We just want to make sure we take care of business, win the last three games,” said MAU coach Frank Gaudette.
The Patriots (7-5) entered Monday’s contest as the No. 4 seed in Division II, behind No. 1 Hartford (13-0), No. 2 Rice (8-6) and No. 3 Harwood (7-3). There’s room to move up to second or third before seedings are finalized, but Gaudette is confident no matter what seed the Patriots end up with.
Monday’s dominant showing is the latest example of why the MAU coach is so confident in this group. Nine different players scored and the defense played as a unit, shutting down the St. Johnsbury attack for much of the afternoon.
Sam Umphlette started the scoring, exactly five minutes into the game on a one hopper that snuck in the top right corner of the cage and over the head of Connor Brigham, the Hilltoppers goalie.
Brigham did his best to slow the MAU offense, stopping the first four shots that came his way, but once the home team saw the first one go past Brigham, the goals were contagious.
Tyler DeBoer added to MAU’s lead three minutes later – his first of a game-high five goals – on the heels of another Brigham safe. A clear attempt from the St. J. goalie resulted in a loose ball not far from the cage. Brigham chased his pass, but DeBoer scooped the ground ball and fired a low shot into the cage before Brigham was able to retreat back, putting MAU ahead 2-0.
Aiden Bevin absorbed some contact from a St. J defender two minutes after DeBoer’s score and found the back of the net on an off-balance shot in traffic, and MAU’s offense was officially off and running. Gavin Schnoop and Aiden Moscarello added first quarter scores, and DeBoer closed the quarter out with another goal with 5.5 seconds remaining, extending MAU’s lead to 6-0 after one.
James Murphy, Schnoop, Lucas Lincourt, DeBoer and Henry Frechette added scores in the second quarter as MAU built its lead to 11-0 heading into halftime. Frechette’s score came with only 1.1 seconds remaining in the half.
Defensively, Nathan Lincourt had a timely forced turnover that helped the Patriots kill a penalty as they were a man down while a couple of isolation efforts on Connor Barrett near the cage came up empty as the senior shut down his man before he could get to the cage.
The Hilltoppers struck first in the second half, as Hayden Angell bounced a shot over the head of Landon Brimmer (four saves) in the opening two minutes, but MAU answered quickly.
Umphlette scored his second goal a minute later, and the Patriots brought the game to a running clock, building its lead to 12, at the 8:30 mark of the third quarter on a Moscarello goal.
Angell added another before the quarter was over, but MAU maintained a comfortable 15-2 advantage.
Senior Evan Eggsware added a score in the fourth, one of four Patriots goals in the final quarter as they cruised to victory.
MAU returns to action Tuesday, playing on Spinelli Field for its senior game against Brattleboro.