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Massad, defense shine in NOLL win over Mentor
RR Boys Lacrosse
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- The 2021 Northern Ohio Lacrosse League champs earned their first NOLL triumph of the young 2022 season Tuesday, as Rocky River downed Mentor 7-5 at Rocky River Stadium.

Junior midfielder Mack Massad registered four points while going 12-1 on faceoffs in a contest River led wire-to-wire. Massad had three goals and an assist and was also part of a defensive effort that saw the Pirates (2-2, 1-1 NOLL) hold the Cardinals to 10 shots on goal. He and senior defenseman Robby Lang logged key second-half spills to snuff out Mentor possessions in a cold-weather contest played with a 1-to-2-goal margin most of the way. Massad finished the game with 16 ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Rocky River leveraged goals by Ryan Hildebrand and Andrew Lang in taking a 2-0 lead into the second period. The Cardinals got within one (2-1) late in the second period, but the Pirates responded when Massad scored his first two goals -- separated by less-than-90 seconds -- over the final three minutes of the first half. River would eventually go into halftime leading 4-2.

The third quarter was a 1-for-1 exchange, with Massad landing the River half. And both sides found twine twice in the final frame: the Pirates' final two goals were scored by Tyler Fortune and Rowan McDougal.

For the game, Rocky River outshot Mentor 31-27. The Pirates put 20 shots on frame to the Cardinals' 10.

Turnovers were a near-even exchange, but the Pirates were a season-best 14-of-17 (82.4%) on clears. River had 39 ground balls to Mentor's 25. Robby Lang's line included three ground balls and two caused turnovers. McDougal and Fortune added four and three ground balls, respectively.

Junior goalkeeper Carter Smith filed five saves on the night. His opposite number -- junior Michael McClure -- made 15 stops for the visitors. Smith and McClure were particularly effective in the third period, when a combined nine shots on goal yielded just two scores.

Senior Tyler Wilkinson had two goals and an assist to pace the Mentor (1-2, 0-2) offense.

Tuesday's game marked the fifth all-time meeting between Rocky River and Mentor; the Pirates are 5-0 against the Cardinals.


: Rocky River will travel to NOLL-foe Brunswick on Thursday.

DOT-DOT-DOT: After allowing 27 goals on 42 shots on goal in games 1 and 2, River has rebounded to allow just eight goals and 18 shots on frame the last two games. ... The Pirates went 0-for-5 in man-up situations Tuesday. For the season, River is 2-for-12 (16.7%) with the extra man. The Maroon & White went 14-of-61 (23%) in 2021. ... Robby Lang has logged multiple ground balls and caused turnovers in each of Rocky River's last three games. Lang has registered a team-high 10 spills on the season. ... Rowan McDougal (five goals total) and Ryan Hildebrand (five) have each scored in each game this spring. Mack Massad's nine points (seven goals, two assists) mark the team lead through four games. ... Andrew Lang's first-period goal marked the first of his career. Tyler Fortune's fourth-period marker was his first of the season and the third of his career.

by Skip Snow

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