Senior Kevin Cernuto was one of three Red Storm players to score a hat trick in Saturday's home victory over Siena.
March 1, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. – On the same day that St. John’s University inducted program great Mike Bolger into its Athletics Hall of Fame, senior Kieran McArdle recorded his 200th career point to join Bolger as the only two players in school history to achieve the feat and guide the Red Storm to a 14-9 victory over visiting Siena on Saturday afternoon at DaSilva Memorial Field. St. John’s improves to 2-1 while the loss evens the Saints record to 2-2.
McArdle finished with a team-high five points on two goals and three assists, notching career point No. 200 on an assist to classmate Ryan Fitzgerald for the Red Storm’s 10th goal of the game with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter. Four more players finished with three or more points for St. John’s, including junior Stefan Diachenko, who tallied three goals, one assist and four points, all career highs.
Siena ended the game with a 53-32 advantage in shots, 28-20 edge in shots and won 19-of-25 faceoffs. The Red Storm defense held the visitors to a 17.0 shooting percentage, however, while St. John’s offense scored on 43.8 percent of its shots and got a career-high 14 saves from freshman goalie Joseph Danaher. The Red Storm won each of the first two quarters, 4-2, before outscoring the Saints, 3-1, in the final 15 minutes of play to seal its second home victory in as many tries this season.
“We’re very happy to get this win,” said St. John’s head coach Jason Miller. “This is always a really tough game and Siena is a really explosive team. They took 53 shots; that’s a lot to give up. I thought Kevin Cernuto was awesome today in a great bounce back game for him. I was also really pleased with our midfield output. Those guys worked really hard this week and it showed.”
The Red Storm’s starting midfield of Fitzgerald, senior Connor Mullen
and junior Eric DeJohn
combined for four goals and four assists on Saturday, with Mullen contributing three assists and Fitzgerald netting a hat trick. Cernuto also scored a hat trick, with all three of his goals coming of the unassisted variety.
Siena opened the scoring in the first quarter before St. John’s responded with three-straight goals in the space of four minutes thanks to a goal and an assist from both McArdle and DeJohn. After scoring the Red Storm’s second goal, Diachenko then fed sophomore James Bonanno for his first assist of the season to send St. John’s into the second quarter leading 4-2.
The Saints scored twice to open the second 15 minutes of play to tie the score at 4-all, but again the Red Storm had the necessary response, netting four-straight goals on its way to a 8-4 halftime lead. Cernuto scored on a diving shot while drawing a penalty to put St. John’s up 5-4, before Mullen assisted on the next three Red Storm goals, two coming from the stick of Fitzgerald and one from McArdle’s.
Diachenko continued his fine performance by opening the scoring in the second half on an unassisted effort, before consecutive Siena goals saw St. John’s lead cut to 9-6 with 6:03 remaining in the third quarter. That set the stage for McArdle’s record-breaking assist, as the senior and recent Tewaaraton Award Watch List honoree threaded the needle to Fitzgerald for his 108th career assist and 200th career point. McArdle trails only Bolger in both categories all-time at St. John’s, with the latter ending his illustrious Queens career with 219 points and 122 assists.
“We are really proud of Kieran hitting the 200-point mark today, especially in front of the only other guy to do it here, Mike Bolger, who was at the game and goes into the St. John’s Hall of Fame tonight,” said Miller.
Cernuto scored the last goal of the third quarter and first of the final period, before a goal by senior Colin Keegan and Diachenko’s last of the game on another McArdle assist put the Red Storm in command up 14-8 with 9:46 remaining.
Defensively, senior defender Andrew Viscusi corralled a team-high six groundballs, while classmate Joe Addona and junior Mark DiFrangia each forced a pair of turnovers. Danaher made half of his saves in the fourth quarter in securing his second complete-game win.
Siena’s Richie Hurley led the visitors’ efforts with five points on two goals and three assists, while faceoff man Casey Dowd tallied 14 groundballs and goalie Tommy Cordts made five saves.
St. John’s is back on the road during spring break to face non-conference opponent Drexel on March 4 with opening faceoff slated for 1 p.m.