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Salve Regina takes ECAC championship, 15-10

A jubilant Salve Regina men's lacrosse team after capturing the 2014 ECAC Division III New England Championship.
A jubilant Salve Regina men's lacrosse team after capturing the 2014 ECAC Division III New England Championship.

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. - Salve Regina University senior Curtis McKeon (West Haven, Conn.) scored five goals and earned Most Outstanding Player honors as the Seahawks captured the 2014 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Men's Lacrosse Championship with a 15-10 victory over Becker College at Gaudet Field.

The top-seeded Seahawks, who scored a season-high 21 goals in Wednesday's semifinal victory, outscored the Hawks in three of the four quarters tonight. McKeon found the net first, 11:51 in the first. Blake Boutiette (Burrillville, R.I.) knotted the score at 1-1 with his 19th goal of the season at 9:57.

Sharp Jones' (Scituate, Mass.) goal at 8:09, with an assist from Nick LoCicero (Lynbrook, N.Y.), gave Salve Regina (15-5) the lead for good. McKeon upped the lead to 3-1 three and a half minutes later before Jones' second goal of the first quarter made him the first 60-goal scorer in a season for the Seahawks.

Sophomore James Fee (Massapequa, N.Y.) assisted on the last two Seahawk goals in the first quarter. Boutiette's second goal of the first, his 20th of the season, cut the Seahawk lead to 4-2.

Senior Chad Hollenshade (Lutherville, Md.) started the second-quarter scoring with his first of four goals nearly halfway through the period, 7:51. Shane Balestracci (Pawcatuck, Conn.) and Brandon Hill (New York, N.Y.) scored goals for the Hawks 15 seconds apart (5:30 and 5:15) to close the gap to one, 5-4.

McKeon and David Deschenes (Gales Ferry, Conn.) both had a goal in the final two minutes of the first half to keep the margin at one, 6-5, heading into the break.

Three Seahawk seniors - Hollenshade, McKeon, and Dan Parks (Nesconset, N.Y.) - contributed to a five-goal outburst at the outset of the second half as Salve Regina built an 11-5 lead. Hollenshade assisted on Alex King's (Andover, Mass.) goal just after the opening face-off, 14:22; and then three minutes later scored on a man-up situation with an assist from LoCicero.

LoCicero also assisted on McKeon's man-up goal at 9:24, raising his program-record season total to 63 assists. On the next Seahawk possession, Hollenshade controlled the ball behind the Hawks' goal and fed Parks who streaked in right in front of the net to slam in his 23rd goal of the season. Hollenshade's goal at 8:12 gave the Seahawks a six-goal advantage, their biggest lead of the game.

But Becker (15-6) would not let the game be decided in three quarters as the Hawks scored four straight - two each from John DeAngelis (Swampscott, Mass.) and Daniel Johnson (Plymouth, Mass.) - and trailed only 11-9 with 4:29 left in the third.

LoCicero got a shot off in the final minute of the period after faking a pass and turning to fire on the net. His goal gave Salve Regina a three-goal cushion heading into the final period.

Hollenshade and Deschenes exchanged goals in the third and fourth minutes of the fourth quarter. McKeon's goal at 10:07 made him the third 50-goal scorer in a season in Seahawk history, joining Jones (2014) and Chris Walker (2010) on the list.

Jones finished the scoring at 7:05 after Alex Hennessey (West Babylon, N.Y.) carried the ball half the field before tossing a no-look flip to the sharp-shooting sophomore.

Both starting goalies finished with double-figure save totals - 20 for Becker freshman Jeffrey Candee (Madison, Conn.), 10 for Salve Regina freshman Andrew Watkins (Natick, Mass.). Both programs established single-season high with 15 wins apiece. The Seahawks, making their first-ever appearance in the ECAC Championships, take home the title with their fifth win in last six games and ninth game scoring 15 or more goals in 2014.