Alibrandi Nets Game Winner With Four Seconds Left, Ravens Upend Saint Michael’s in Conference Thriller

Mike Alibrandi (left) and Luke Tracy (right)
Mike Alibrandi (left) and Luke Tracy (right)

RINDGE, N.H. (March 27, 2019) – Franklin Pierce University men's lacrosse sophomore transfer Mike Alibrandi (Holliston, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal with four seconds to go in regulation as the Ravens collected an 11-10 victory against Northeast-10 Conference opponent Saint Michael's College Wednesday afternoon on Sodexo Field. With the win, the Ravens record moves to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in league play while the Purple Knights slide to 3-4, 0-3 NE10.

Following a groundball pickup by junior defender Alex Caskie (Walpole, Mass.), the Crimson and Grey successfully cleared the SMC offensive zone and called a timeout with nine seconds left. Team captain Jake Castorf (Holbrook, N.Y.) took the ball from the Purple Knight bench, drove the right wing, kicked out a dime to Alibrandi in the middle of the field and the midfielder ripped home the one-timer that sent the Raven faithful home happy.

Alibrandi finished the game with a team-high three goals and one assist for four points. Castorf chipped in two goals, two assists matching his teammates point output to go along with a squad-best two caused turnovers. Graduate student Domenic St. Laurent (Amherst, N.H.) tacked on three goals of his own while freshman attack Stephen Ell (Peabody, Mass.) totaled two goals and one assist.

Eight of the Purple Knights 10 goals were manufactured by the duo of Ralph Grillone III and Jon Lockwood who racked up four goals apiece. Grillone III had a game-high six points in the setback.

Raven starting netminder Justin Lorenzo (Goshen, N.Y.) improved to 4-1 on the year and matched season-high save total with 11. Dominic Joy got pulled from the cage early in the first half, but started the second half and took the loss to fall to 3-4 making eight saves for the guests.

Both teams took an even amount of shots in the duel (33-to-30) and the Ravens won 15-of-24 from the faceoff X thanks to specialist Lawrence Bastianelli-Conlon (Rocky Point, N.Y.). However, Saint Michael's was 5-of-7 on man-advantage chances with half of their markers coming on the advantage.

Saint Michael's broke the scoring column first four minutes into the game after an interference penalty was called on Pierce. 18 seconds later, Colin Steiger found Lockwood for the close right wing tally giving the guests the 1-0 edge. The Ravens responded with five straight goals, two dumped in by St. Laurent and the final marker, a Josh Dorr (Brunswick, Maine) feed to Alibrandi for the catch and shoot chance pushed FPU ahead 5-1 early in the battle.

After the five-goal first quarter outburst, the Ravens were held in check by the swarming Purple Knight defense as they allowed only three, two and one goal over the next three periods.

In the second, the Purple Knights came within one, 5-4 thanks to three consecutive scores of their own with two of them coming off the stick of Grillone III. Senior attack Matt Brewster (Merrimack, N.H.) connected with Ell for his second goal of the half to expand the Pierce lead to 7-4. Grillone III closed out the stanza when he punched home his third marker to put his squad down two, 8-6 at the intermission.

Saint Michael's deadlocked the game 8-8 with 11:04 left in the third due to a right slot man advantage snipe via Lockwood. With 7:21 left in the third, sophomore defender Kyle Fortier (Derry, N.H.) caused a turnover by smacking the ball out of Matt McGaffigan's stick. Caskie gobbled up the loose ball which resulted in a successful clear for Pierce. Team captain Luke Tracy (Windham, N.H.) cashed in the miscue 40 seconds later giving the Crimson and Grey the 9-8 edge. Castorf notched a goal at the 1:02 mark to increase the Raven margin to 10-8 heading into the final 15 minutes.

The Purple Knights evened the game with 3:38 to play on the man advantage. FPU won the ensuing faceoff, but stepped out of bounds giving SMC all the momentum. The Raven defense and Lorenzo stepped up in the final three minutes not allowing a goal and the Raven goalkeeper made two humungous saves with 2:30 and 1:30 left. Saint Michael's stopped play with a timeout, held the ball because they had the possession clock working in their favor and Lockwood fired a shot that was blocked by a Raven defender. Kyle Hirshom picked up the loose ball hoping for another opportunity for the game-winner when he passed the rock to Grillone III, but Grillone III turned the ball over leading to Alibrandi's contest clinching tally.

The Ravens conclude their three-game homestand on Saturday, March 30th when they welcome Bentley University (3-2, 1-2 NE10) for a noon showdown.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce men's lacrosse apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://fpuravens.com/store). You can also follow the men's lacrosse team on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FPUMLacrosse) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/fpumlacrosse).