MEDFORD, Mass. -- Ben Connelly scored a game-high seven goals and the No. 4 nationally ranked Tufts University Jumbos defeated No. 12 Bates men's lacrosse 19-14 in a NESCAC showdown Tuesday night at Bello Field.
The Jumbos (12-1, 7-1 NESCAC) and Bobcats (9-3, 6-2 NESCAC) entered the game tied for first place in the conference. The visiting Bobcats led just once after scoring the first goal, but they twice came back from big deficits and were within 16-14 with 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Connelly scored two of Tufts' three goals from there for the 19-14 final.
Kyle Helfrich won 22 of 33 faceoffs for the Jumbos. Junior captain Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) led Bates with five goals and three assists.
Junior captain Curtis Knapton (Westbrook, Maine) scored the game's first goal set up by Chlastawa 40 seconds in. The Bobcat lead was short-lived though, as Tufts scored eight of the next nine goals and was up 8-2 with 10:15 remaining in the second quarter. Tufts had six different goal scorers during the stretch, with Connelly and Nick Shanks scoring two each.
Bates rallied to score the final five goals of the second period, making it a one-goal game. Chlastawa had two goals and an assist during the run, including a goal with two seconds left until halftime. Bates junior goalie Rob Strain (Montclair, N.J.) made a save, fired a pass up the middle to Chlastawa and he outran the Jumbo defense and scored to pull Bates within 8-7 at the half.
The Jumbos would regain control with a strong third quarter, outscoring the Bobcats 6-2. Connelly and Max Waldbaum both scored twice during the third as the Jumbos took a 14-9 advantage.
Tufts led 15-10 after a goal by Garrett Samuelson at 13:19 of the final quarter before Bates gave it one last push. They out-scored the hosts 4-1 during an eight-minute stretch to close within 16-14. Chlastawa had two of the tallies. However, Connelly answered 11 seconds after the final Bates goal and the Jumbos were able to finish off the victory.
In addition to Connelly's seven goals, Shanks added three goals and an assist, while Waldbaum scored three times. Long-stick midfielder Stewart Stockdale caused two turnovers and grabbed five groundballs. Tufts goalkeeper Mason Pollack finished with 14 stops.
Senior Andrew Small (Deerfield, Ill.) added three goals and an assist for Bates. Strain made 16 saves in goal and caused two turnovers. First-year Jack Golden (Northport, N.Y.) finished with five groundballs. The Bobcats scored twice on four man-up situations and did not commit a penalty in the game.
Tufts out-shot the Bobcats 63-50 and won the ground-ball battle 40-27.
Bates hosts Amherst this Saturday at 1pm for Senior Day, before Bates wraps up the regular season with a home game against Colby on April 24.