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NCAA D2 Men’s Lacrosse Championship Preview

Lacrosse fans were treated to some unbelievable games last weekend. SU’s last minute comeback over Yale was one for the ages. The battle of the powerhouses, Duke and Notre Dame, was downright unbelievable. Denver mounting an impressive win over North Carolina.

RIT using black magic and trickery to get the win in overtime and punch their ticket to Championship Weekend. Mercyhurst grasping the win right from the clutches of Limestone to return to championship weekend for the 2nd time in 3 years, where they will face Le Moyne.

If Championship Weekend is half as fun as last weekend we all should buckle up for some great games! Let’s get a little deeper into this NCAA D2 Championship gem, which will be broadcast on on Sunday.

Mercyhurst has found its way back to the National Championship going a perfect 18-0.  This is the 3rd time in 7 years that Mercyhurst has made it to the National Championship, and 2nd time out of the last 3 attempts. After narrowly escaping both of their NCAA tournament games, Mercyhurst looks to be a team destined to win it all.

Le Moyne is no stranger to Championship Weekend and is the perfect match up for Mercyhurst.  Lemoyne has is 6-0 all time when playing Mercyhurst, including a last-second win in the 2007 National Championship, so someone’s winning streak is going to end.  Whenever these two teams get together to do battle, it is always a exciting game.

Le Moyne is 17-2 coming into the weekend with their only losses coming to Merrimack and Adelphi back in April, but Lemonye had its revenge as they beat Adelphi this past weekend to advance. While both of these two teams have earned the right to play for a National Championship, neither team has any first team All-Americans. That’s interesting!

Le Moyne is paced by attackman Tyler Prevost and Nate Frechette who have 58 and 55 points respectively.  Midfielder Andrew Chadderdon is 3rd on the team in scoring with 47 points and is following in his brothers footsteps who graduated from Le Moyne only a few years ago.  These three players will be a handful for the Mercyhurst defense who is surrendering 7.48 goals per game.  Lemoyne’s offense is ranked 7th in the NCAA scoring 13 GPP.

Conversly, the Mercyhurst offense is ranked 4th in the NCAA scoring 13.72 GPP who Lemoyne’s defense is ranked 1st overall giving up a minuscule 5.32 goals per game.  Mercyhurst’s offense is led by attackman Brian Scheetz who has 72 points on the year and is Mercyhurst’s All-Time leading point scorer.  The next top for scorers are Jack McAndrew, Brady Hesteline, Zac Reid, and James Chayka.  All four players have scored 40 or more points this season, including Reid, who had a career high 7 goals against Limestone last weekend.

The most important and most intriguing match up for this weekend will be face offs.  Mercyhurst struggled last weekend only winning 11 of 39 total face offs against Limestone.  Limestone was able to win face offs and that gave them the upper hand all game long and were able to control the pace of play.  Mercyhurst has won nearly 59% of their face offs all season long with Mitch McAvoy, who has 17 points on the year, taking the bulk of those draws.  Kyle Lindsay is a suitable backup as he has won .65% of his attempts.  Le Moyne has Kam Kumpas who has 23 points on the year along with a .61% win percentage.  He will be the key player in the face off battle.  Le Monye has a slight advantage in a numbers game as they have won .61% of their draws all season long, 2% more than Mercyhurst.

If you were to run down the stats line you would see that on paper these two teams are basically identical.  Both shooting percentages are right near each other at 31%  Mercyhurst has scored a total of 246 goals this season and Le Moyne has scored 247.  Mercyhurst is 42% on EMO and Lemoyne is 42% as well, although Le Moyne has 23 more opportunities.  One major difference in statistics is clearing percentage.  Le Moyne overall percentage is unusually low at .84% while Mercyhurst is .92%  Obviously no team is going to be near perfect, but I would expect Lemoyne to be in the 90’s this could be a vantage point that Chris Ryan and his Mercyhurst crew could take advantage of.

The biggest difference between these two teams will be goal-tending   It is widely argued that Le Moyne’s Jeff White is the best goalie in Division II.  White boasts a .62% save percentage this year compared to Mercyhurst’s Michael Grace .55%.  While .55% is a number to be proud of and win awards .62% is astronomical  and it is very rare to see goaltenders with percentages that high.  One can argue strength of opponents but you cannot deny that these goalies are the reasons that these teams are where they are right now.

In the past 10 years, Le Moyne has played in the National Championship game 6 times, and coach Dan Sheehan has won three of those.  Mercyhurst has been only twice, winning only once.  Le Moyne has not played Mercyhurst since 2009, and while there is no immediate familiarization with these two teams they are no stranger to each other, in any way.  Especially Sheehan and Ryan.

I can safely say that neither coach has no greater pleasure than defeating the other.