(Photo by Mike Flanagan)
EASTON, Mass. – Stonehill welcomed in first-year MCLA program Worcester State to W.B. Mason Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and in doing so, may have found themselves a new rival.
Despite being down a multitude of starters, the Skyhawks (1-0, 1-0 PCLL) took care of business and began their season with a convincing 17-7 victory over the Lancers (0-1, 0-1) in a rather physical contest.
Freshman attackman Jack Visgilio led the way for the Skyhawks with five goals in his debut performance. Senior captain and 2017 second team all-conference attackman Ryan Stofko recorded a hat trick while senior captain Royce Conlin also recorded a hat trick and won 11-of-16 faceoffs.
Junior attackman Josh Dailey led Worcester State with a pair of goals on four shots.
After each team traded possessions, Visgilio got the scoring started for Stonehill three minutes in with a dodge and right-handed rip down low. Dailey responded for the Lancers three minutes later with a left-handed bounce shot that beat Stonehill goaltender Matt Galligan (12 saves) stick side to even the game at one.
Junior midfielder Mike Le reclaimed the lead for Stonehill on the man-up off of a feed from Conlin with under a minute to play in the quarter, and the Skyhawks held a one-goal lead at the end of one.
Stofko’s first of the day doubled Stonehill’s lead to two just 1:20 into the second quarter as the senior dodged from X and fired home a left-handed shot via the five-hole to give the Skyhawks a 3-1 lead. Two minutes later after a big save and smooth clear by Galligan, Stofko potted home another off of transition to extend the lead to 4-1.
With five minutes remaining in the quarter, Conlin fired home a goal on the man-up off of a feed from Le to make it a 5-1 game. Visgilio scored his second of the afternoon with a right-handed crank to make it 6-1 just before halftime.
Visgilio opened the scoring back up for Stonehill less than a minute into the third quarter with a spin dodge and left-handed finish to extend Stonehill’s lead to 7-1. Stofko completed the hat trick two minutes later to extend the lead to 8-1 before goals by Conlin and two by Visgilio extended the Skyhawk lead to 10 at 11-1.
Conlin responded back for Stonehill by completing his hat trick to give Stonehill a 12-3 lead. Junior midfielder Adam Moeckel and freshman midfielder Brendan Morganelli responded with goals on the man-up for Worcester State to cut the deficit to 12-5 at the end of three quarters.
Scott Manganelli scored just 1:45 into the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to 12-6 for Worcester State, but freshman attackman Nana Amoh responded back for Stonehill by driving to the cage and dumping a right-handed shot over the shoulder of Lancer goalie Austin O’Neal (eight saves) to make it a 13-6 game.
Senior attackman Alex Ablianitis scored to make it a 13-7 game for Worcester State less than two minutes later. However, the Skyhawks responded and put the game away with a 4-0 run that included goals by freshman long-stick midfielder Brendan Ferrick, sophomore attackman Jacob VanDenBerghe, Concannon, and junior attackman Jay Healey to claim a 17-7 season-opening win.