Nashua, NH – The Rivier University Raiders, 3 – 1 (0 – 0 GNAC), used a strong 3rd quarter to propel themselves to a 13 – 2 defeat over the visiting UMaine Farmington Beavers, 0 – 1 (0 – 0 NAC) at Raider Field. Rivier was paced by a trio of freshmen Brandon Hanifin (Fr, Tewksbury, MA) with 4 goals, 3 assists and 6 ground balls, Kyle Graham (Fr, Londonderry, NH) with 2 goals, 9 totals shots – 6 on goal and 10 ground balls, and Rob Auer (Fr, Salem, NH) with 2 goals, 2 assists and 2 ground balls, while junior Danny Hooper (Jr, Wakefield, RI) chipped in 2 goals, 1 assist and 2 ground balls.
Rivier opened the scoring 2:15 into game on a great goal from David Bray (Fr, West Suffield, CT). Bray made a power run to start the play. UMaine Farmington defender Geoff Ballou (Sr, Chittenden, VT) shifted over to step hard to check Bray, cutting up the left side of the slot, were they collided and Bray sent Ballou to the ground in a heap after a heavy collision 15 yards from goal. Bray cruised out of the collision, separating himself from a second trailing defender with a hard run from left to right horizontally across the slot, still 15 yards from goal, and let a hard, low bounced shot fly that sprang past goalkeeper Ben Altmaier (Sr, Wilton, ME) into the Farmington goal.
44 seconds later Rivier would double their lead. Mike Arricale (Jr, Billerica, MA) made a nice 1 v 1 cut at the top of the lane in front of the goal mouth, shifted to his left into space with pace and let a shot go on a low release that slipped in at knee height past Altmaier.
At the 3:15 mark, Clark Plummer (Fr, Londonderry, NH) turned away Farmington's first real threat on goal. Jake Linkletter (Jr, Athens, ME) made a sharp pass to Sean Berce (Jr, Auburn, ME) setting Berce up 1 v 1 to the right of C. Plummer's cage, just yards away. Berce picked his spot and fired high on frame and C. Plummer matched the crisp shot with a great reaction – fighting the ball away with the shaft of his stick and right shoulder, catching a good chunk of the ball and sending the shot 20 feet over the crossbar and hurtling out of bounds.
The Beavers pressed the Rivier goal again with two more attempts at the 4:57 mark and at the 5:21 mark. On the first attempt, TC Peters (Jr, Scarborough, ME) created a good look for himself from high in the slot and putting a testing shot on C. Plummer that the goalkeeper handled. C. Plummer was called on again 24 seconds later and he turned in a sharp save to keep the Raiders up 2 – 0.
Rob Auer would add a third tally for the Raiders at the 6:28 mark. Auer used his quickness coming out of the back left corner of the field and made a good, mazy run, breaking a big hit and quickly spinning through a second defender where he opened up enough space to fire a crisp shot from 14 yards past Altmaier into the Farmington goal.
A minute and nineteen seconds later, the Raiders drove the lead to 4 – 0. At the 7:47 mark, C. Plummer initiated a great transition goal. The Raider goalkeeper carried the ball to half to break the Farmington pressure, snapped a crisp pass to Arricale in stride, Arricale quickly shuttled it to Brandon Hanifin on the move 30 yards from goal and Hanifin carried it sharply, initiated a 3 v 2 where he found the open Raider attacker Auer on the left with another quick pass, and Auer wasted no time in reining in the pass with a nice catch and firing it just as soon with a good placed shot past the Beavers' goalkeeper. The sharp transition goal took just over 5 seconds for the Raiders to cover half the field in three passes from the time it left the netting in C. Plummer's stick to the time Auer placed the ball into the netting of the goal.
At the 9:35 mark, Farmington, in a man-up situation, worked the ball well in the Rivier defensive area. The Beavers created a good opportunity for Travis St. Pierre (So, Sebago,ME) in tight to goal. But the Raiders defense reacted with two defenders converging on the Farmington attacker as he worked to get his shot off, harrying him to fire early, and again C. Plummer turned in a good body save to deny the attack.
With the 1st quarter winding down, the Beavers converted their first goal at the 13:34 mark. Josh Smith (So, Oakland, ME) worked the ball to Brandon Melville (Sr, Farmington, ME) down low, out wide to the left of the Rivier goal. Melville connected a nice pass to Peters that Peters did a good job to receive high in traffic, using his 6'3" frame to hold the ball high in his stick, and shifting the angle of his stick with nice stick work to avoid the Raider defenders stick checks before he fired from high and found the back of the net. The Beavers were on the board, 4 – 1.
As the final 10 seconds ticked off the 1st quarter, Bray had a nice individual effort from high in the slot that called on a good save form Farmington's Altmaier to keep his team within three.
Farmington created two good scoring opportunities in the first minute of the 2nd quarter. 9 seconds in Brandon Monroe (Jr, Oakland, ME) won the face off and quickly carried right up the gut of the Raider defense where he was able to fire a good low shot from the slot. C. Plummer reacted with a clean scoop low to his left to keep the three goal cushion. 40 seconds later, the visiting Beavers knocked again. Peters made a physical run up the middle before dishing to Berce. Berce in good position just outside of the crease, fumbled the pass. As Berce worked to regain the ball, Rivier's Cody Lynch (So, Salem, NH) was quick to react and his physical defending thwarted the threat.
The 2nd quarter was a bit more erratic than the first with both teams working to clear the ball successfully and move into the attacking half, but then failing to connect passes and create offensive chances. The visiting Beavers moved the ball well and pushed the Raiders to make a good stand 8 minutes into the quarter and come-up with the win on a feisty set of scrambles for a loose ball deep in the defensive slot. At the 8:35 mark, Farmington was able to work the ball to Zack Rowland (So, Fryeburg, ME) and he let a good low shot fly. C. Plummer answered with a low kneeling save, snaring the ball.
At the 10:04 mark, the Raider's clicked for a nice goal. Trevor Plummer (Fr, Londonderry, NH), goalkeeper C. Plummer's brother, snapped a pass to Auer, Auer snapped it to Hanifin, and Hanifin barely let it rest in the head of his stick before he snapped the ball into the net. Snap, snap, snap the Raiders had their fifth goal, pushing their lead to 5 – 1.
The Raiders created two more good chances in the first half. Bray fired low from the slot and Altmaier reacted with a good low save and battled to find the rebound. With 2:00 minutes to play, the Raider attack clicked for one of their best passing sequences of the game. Andrew Lucy (So, Windham, NH) ignited the play, with a fast transition carry into the offensive half. He passed to Auer, who quickly whipped the ball to Hanifin sprinting down the left side of the slot. Hanifin dodged out left around a defender and fired the ball across the goalmouth where Arricale crashed through the slot, half diving through the air, and waved at the fast pass, but he was unable to connect with the ball and steer it into the open back side of the goal. The crowd reacted to the Raiders sharp ball movement.
With the Rivier attack done for the half, C. Plummer was called on with 20 seconds to go. Peters let a bouncing shot fly from the slot and C. Plummer met it with a good save and handled the ball. The first half ended with the Raiders ahead 5 – 1.
The Raiders responded to their under par 2nd quarter by stepping on the gas for the 3rd quarter. UMaine Farmington opened the second half with a concentrated effort. The two teams battled in a transition game for the first two and a half minutes before trading scoring opportunities. Rivier had the first good look, with Bray forcing a good kicking save from Altmaier on a low shot to his left. Farmington put together a few good scoring opportunities at the 3:41 and 3:55 marks. On the first, Peters pulled of a spin shot in the slot, and C. Plummer reacted with a good rising save in his chest. The second chance was thwarted by a save from C. Plummer on a quick shot out of a scrum just in front of his crease, the shot rushed by pressure from the Raider defense.
After trading the scoring opportunities, Farmington could not keep pace, unable to answer any of Rivier's seven goals over the remaining nine minutes of the 3rd quarter. The first tally in the outburst came at the 6:00 minute mark. Again it was a snap, snap, snap play with Hanifin passing quickly to Auer, who whipped it sharply to Danny Hooper who fired it home. 6 – 1 Rivier. 58 seconds later the Raiders struck again. Kyle Graham made a power run driving through the Farmington defense before depositing a good shot into the net. Farmington tried to react, firing a testing shot at C. Plummer at the 7:48 mark, but the goalkeeper was up to the challenge. 1 minute later, the Raiders struck again. Graham started with a nice 1 v 1 move to break down the first defender, then he drove on a diagonal run from the left side of the slot to the right, where he shifted by another defender and shot in stride, burying his shot past Altmaier. 50 seconds later it was Hanifin firing home a feed from Bray, placing the shot to the goalkeeper's right. All told, the Raiders rang out for four goals in 4 minutes 48 seconds and took command of the game 9 – 1.
The Raiders didn't let up, piling on three more goals in the last three minutes of the 3rd quarter. The first was a good transitional goal, with sharp passing from Lynch out of the defensive half, to Kevin Dembkoski (Fr, Salem, NH), who got the ball to Hanifin. Hanifin got of a quick shot to beat the Farmington GK. Dembkoski got his own marker shortly after, 12:58 into the quarter. Hooper got him the ball and Dembkoski rolled out from the left corner before firing home. Hooper would close out the scoring in the quarter with his strike with 20 seconds to go, assisted by Hanifin. The Raiders were in control, 12 – 1.
Rivier added their final goal of the night at the 1:46 mark of the 4th quarter. On a nice feed from behind the net, Graham flicked a fast pass into Hanifin in the slot and he wasted no time firing the ball into the Farmington net with a quick, sharp shot. 13 – 1 Rivier. Farmington played out the game though. At the 7:45 mark Peters tested Rivier goalkeeper Jim Varela (So, Merrimack, NH) forcing him to make a good save low on his near post. At the 10:44 mark, Varela made a sharp save, a nice reaction with his stick to thwart a hard shot from Farmington's Berce. With 2:03 to play, Rivier goalkeeper Chris Benoit (Sr, Blackstone, MA) turned in a nice save, standing big in the goal, Farmington's Melville had nothing to shoot at in a 1 v 1 situation, Benoit blocking the shot by taking away the attacker's angle with a nice challenge. Farmington stayed with it and tallied at the 13:15 mark, with Melville continuing to work and getting rewarded with a shot that trickled through and sneaked over the goal line to add a last note to the 13 – 2 final line for the Raiders.
With the win the Raiders climb to 3 – 1 (0 – 0 GNAC) on the season. They return to action on Wednesday the 13th with a home contest at 4:00 pm versus Thomas College. UMaine Farmington falls to 0 – 1 (0 – 0 North Eastern Athletic Conference) with the season opening loss. They return to action away to Thomas on Sunday the 17th.