The Chapman Panthers came into the MCLA Division I championship undefeated and the favorite to win it all.
That was before Michigan State had something to say about it.
Michigan State rode great goaltending, a stout defense, a controlled offense and a faceoff man who came up big in critical moments to roll through the tournament and defeat the top-seeded Panthers.
The first quarter was a low-scoring affair, with Chapman leading Michigan State by a score of 2-1 at the end of the period. Dylan Garner and Fran Bonadies scored in the opening quarter for Chapman. Charlie Pistner chipped in one early, one of his four goals on the day.
Michigan State took the lead in the second quarter and would never trail for the rest of the game, even though Chapman would tie it up twice.
MSU goalie Kevin Boland recorded 10 saves in the winning effort. Faceoff man Hunter Stephens, who had a major game against BYU in the semifinals in which he won 17 out of 23 faceoffs, failed to find consistency during the game. However, he won faceoffs at critical moments that kept possession for the Spartans and the ball away from the Chapman offense. The Michigan State attack then controlled the tempo of the game by managing long possessions and capitalizing on opportunities.
The game was not without controversy however. An apparent-goal by Garrett Stemmler for Chapman went uncalled. The shot ricocheted off the right pipe and crossbar and went out. However, the replay showed that the net moved. The goal would have cut the deficit to two goals and would have given Chapman a chance with more time remaining on the clock.
— Utah Lacrosse News (@utahlaxnews) May 12, 2018
This is Michigan State’s first-ever MCLA championship. The Spartans graduate only three seniors and look to be an early favorite to win it all next year.