LeClair’s big day leads HPU MLAX to 15-10 triumph at RMU

• Junior Michael LeClair tied his own single-game point and assist records with seven points including five assists.
• Senior Matt Thistle posted six points on the day with three goals and three assists.
• Freshman Tim Troutner moved to 2-1 on the year with 12 saves and one caused turnover.

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Junior Michael LeClair and senior Matt Thistle combined for 13 points as the High Point University men’s lacrosse team earned a 15-10 victory at Robert Morris on Saturday.

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The Colonials (1-3) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter before the Panthers (2-3) answered with a 7-1 run to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“I’m very proud of the effort, poise and maturity our guys showed today and over this stretch of five games in 15 days,” head coach Jon Torpey said. “We got some quality minutes out of some different guys today and it was great to see the depth. We have a lot of respect for Robert Morris and their staff and we knew this was going to be a great battle.”

During the 7-1 run, Thistle and LeClair had a hand in every goal as the duo combined for a baker’s dozen points on the afternoon. LeClair tied his own program single-game records, which he shares with Thistle, with seven points and five assists. Thistle followed just behind adding three goals and three assists in the win.

Defensively, Tim Troutner anchored the Purple & White. In his third career start, the freshman racked up 12 saves and a caused turnover to earn his second victory of the year. For the second straight game, sophomore Terrell Sands registered two caused turnovers while picking up a ground ball. Troutner and the HPU defense were at their best in the man-down holding RMU scoreless in three extra-man opportunities.

Despite a 3-of-7 start, the Panthers controlled face-offs as senior Jamie Piluso went 15-of-19 with eight ground balls and a goal. Redshirt-senior Adam Seal played a key role on the wing reeling in seven ground balls as HPU earned a 34-21 advantage on the ground.

HPU, which relies heavily on its attack trio, showed its offensive depth against the Colonials’ defense. Robert Morris was able to limit senior Dan Lomas to one goal, but it was another Canadian – junior Dallas Bridle – who posted a hat trick.

Adding to Bridle’s outing, sophomore Peyton Garrett had his first career multi-goal game and freshman Quin Eissler netted his first goal in an HPU uniform. Familiar faces rounded out the scoring as junior Sean Harrison and sophomore T Moyer chipped in with a tally apiece.

Robert Morris vaulted out to a 2-0 lead behind two goals by Adrian Torok-Orban in the first six minutes. However, the Panthers converted an EMO as LeClair found Bridle for a goal at the 7:16 mark. LeClair then evened the score finding the back of the net with 4:21 left in the opening frame.

The Panthers controlled the second quarter as Moyer and Lomas scored on assists from LeClair. Meanwhile, the defense held the Colonials scoreless in the period to go into the break with a 4-2 advantage.

After a defensive first half, Garrett seemingly opened the floodgates with a goal at the 10:11 mark to make it 5-2. RMU scored 50 seconds later to slow a 5-0 run and cut the deficit to two (5-3, 9:15). But Eissler converted an EMO and Thistle scored a minute later to give the Panthers a 7-3 advantage with five minutes remaining in the third.

However, RMU refused to go away with consecutive goals before Thistle scored again to send the game to the final period with HPU leading 8-5.

Just like in the third period, Garrett kicked off the fourth-quarter scoring with his second tally with 13:23 to play. The Colonials answered at the 11:40 mark to pull back to within three, but Harrison and Piluso posted goals six seconds apart as HPU stretched its lead to five (11-6, 10:26).

From there, RMU posted three consecutive goals (11-9) in the next three minutes to fight back into contention with 8:07 left on the clock. But Thistle answered with a goal and an assist on Bridle’s goal as the Panthers regained a four-point lead (13-9, 4:28). Moments later, Bridle upped the advantage back to five picking up a loose ball in front of the net (14-9, 3:01).

LeClair tallied his second goal of the game with 48 seconds remaining before the Colonials scored their 10th goal 40 ticks later to provide the 15-10 final.

The Purple & White return home next Saturday to play host to Marist at noon in Vert Stadium.