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Auger nets three to lift Wildcats past Rams

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 01:04


The UNH men’s lacrosse team earned its first conference win with a 9-7 victory over the Rhode Island Rams on Sunday afternoon. Attackman Tom Auger led the Wildcats with three goals, adding to his team-high 30 points (24g, 6a), while goalie Connor Nolan tied a season high with 10 saves. The Wildcats are now 5-5 on the season with a 1-3 record against conference opponents.

UNH got on the board first when midfielder Billy French made his way to the top of the crease and put a shot over URI goalie Mike Formichella for his first goal of the season. The Rams tied it up on their next possession when Ross Blanchard came from the right side and put a bounce shot over Nolan’s head, and took the lead when Ryan MacGowan netted his first of the game.

URI added to their lead in the second quarter when on a shot from the right side, but lost the ball in the sun as it deflected upwards. MacGowan came from behind the net and deflected the ball in while in mid-air. UNH was able to tie it up before halftime, however, with goals from Auger and midfielder Scott Lemay.

Midway through the second quarter, UNH’s David Nardella took an awkward hit from Dan Villandre and fell to the ground clutching his lower leg. After being observed by trainers for almost 15 minutes, Nardella was carted off the field with his foot in a boot; however, Head Coach Ben Clark didn’t receive a diagnosis on what the injury was.

After halftime, the Rams scored two quick goals to take another lead. UNH closed the gap and only trailed 6-5 going into the fourth. The fourth quarter was Nolan’s time to shine, making five saves and only allowing one goal in the final frame.

“Connor’s a good goalie,” Clark said after the game. “Our goalies usually split games…but today there was an illness so we went with Connor for the whole game and he was outstanding. I think he was upset with himself after the first half, but he shut them down in the second half.”

UNH outscored the Rams 4-1 in the fourth quarter, highlighted by defenseman Kyle Pratte’s coast-to-coast score. With a loose ball on New Hampshire’s side of the field, Pratte corralled the ball with his six-foot stick and carried it down the middle of the field through the defense all the way for the eventual game-winner.  Auger, Conor Ryan and Michael Currie also scored in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve [had] the injury bug this week, so practice was about getting bench guys into that starting role,” Clark said. “We’re a young team, so there’s a lot of mental [aspects] to work on.”

UNH will play their final game of the season on Wednesday at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. UConn is currently second in the PCLL with a 9-1 record, whose only loss comes against No. 1 Boston College. MacGowan netted his second goal of the game on a man-up opportunity. Nolan made the initial save 

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