Danbury, CT| Junior Chris Nielsen tallied five points and scored the game-winning goal as the St. Joseph's College (L.I.) men's lacrosse team erased a 3-0 deficit and defeated Western Conn. State, 9-8, in its season-opener on Saturday afternoon.
The victory ensures the Golden Eagles start their season with a 1-0 record for the third-straight season as the Colonials slip to 2-1.
Nielsen scored twice and added three helpers for a game-high five points in the contest. Freshman Tim McCann tallied twice in his collegiate debut, and junior Declan Canevari won 15 of 20 faceoffs and scooped up a game-high eight ground balls.
McCann's second goal 2:38 into the third quarter extended the guests' lead to two goals (5-3), but a 5-1 run by the Colonials saw the Golden Eagles fall behind 8-6.
Freshman Matt Trautman's first-career goal at 7:25 of the fourth quarter cut the SJC deficit to one goal (8-7) before senior Clercy Gaines knotted the score up at eight with 2:21 to play in regulation.
Nielsen would cap off an impressive afternoon when he tallied the game-winner with 1:23 to play, catapulting St. Joseph's to a gritty 9-8 victory.
Despite having been outshot by a 41-31 margin, SJC was the better team on the ground where it won 30 ground balls to Western's 20.
The Golden Eagles return to action on Tuesday, March 5 when they host Manhattanville College for a non-conference contest at Danzi Stadium at 5:30 pm.