Springfield, Mass. – Host Springfield College scored the game's first seven goals and the Pride never looked back, racing to an impressive 22-7 win over Clark University on a cool Wednesday evening at Stagg Field.
With the win, the Pride improve to 11-3 overall, and remain a perfect 5-0 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play, while Clark falls to 7-6, and falls to 2-3 in conference action.
Springfield goalkeeper Connor Nash (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) picked up eight stops and the victory, while Rob Maher (Katonah, N.Y.) tallied a pair of saves. For the Cougars, Kevin Ranta (Beverly, Mass.) stopped 10 out of the Pride's 32 shots on goal.
Senior Branden Fernandez (Warwick, N.Y.) paced the Pride, going 12-for-20 from the faceoff "x", while junior Mark Gonzalez (Tolland, Conn.) went 8-for-12 on the evening.
Just one minute into the contest, sophomore midfielder Brendan Boss (West Springfield, Mass.) split down the right alley and buried a shot on the run to give the Pride an early 1-0 advantage. Boss's goal sparked a flurry of goals from the Pride to give the hosts a 7-0 lead in the early going.
With a two-man advantage, Clark attackman Nick Johnson (Amherst, Mass.) came around the cage and finished a shot past Nash to break the scoring drought from the Cougars, cutting the deficit to six.
With just a few minutes remaining in the first quarter, a Clark turnover sent Colby Verge (Derry, N.H.) pushing transition the other way only to find sophomore Jake Versprille (Franklin, Mass.) for his first-career goal to give the Pride an 8-1 lead.
After a Matthew Sullivan (Brunswick, Maine) goal to cut the Cougars deficit to six, Bryce Serriello (Cape Cod, Mass.) found the back of the net to put the Pride up 9-2, followed by another goal from Fleisher to give Springfield a 10-2 edge going into halftime.
After Lynch's second goal of the game to open the second half, Johnson and Ryan Moore (West Hartford, Conn.) scored on back-to-back strikes, only to be erased by goals from Boss and Lynch to make it 13-4, Pride, midway through the third quarter.
With just 54 seconds left in the third stanza, Murphy tacked on another highlight-reel goal with one hand to push the Pride's lead to nine, only to have Fernandez score his first goal of the season to make it 15-4.
The Cougars got three goals in the fourth period, with two coming from Moore and another from Darius Jagminas (East Greenwich, Calif.).
Clark is now locked into the fourth spot in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament and will face the tourney's top seed on Wednesday, April 30.
The Cougars will wrap up their 2014 regular season on Saturday at Emerson College. Faceoff is slated for 1:00 p.m.