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Grand opening

By SJU Lacrosse, 02/28/13, 3:45PM CST


Led by Helmer, Johnnies start regular season with four wins

Led by a 26-point effort from junior attackman Jake Helmer, St. John's started its 2013 regular season with four straight victories.

With games being rescheduled and relocated due to the massive Midwest snow storm, the Johnnies played their season opener on Friday, Feb. 22, against Washington University-St. Louis at Lindenwood Stadium in Belleville, Ill.

Junior attackman Jake Helmer

Helmer scored four goals and added four assists in the Johnnies' 18-5 victory.

"It was a great start for our team," St. John's coach Derek Daehn said. "We were happy to just be playing a game with all the weather drama but we came ready to play."

Sophomore attackman Michael Culshaw-Maurer had five points (three goals, two assists) and junior midfielder Luke DeBruzzi contributed three goals for the Johnnies' first win of the season.

Momentum carried over with a short turnaround as St. John's battled Missori Baptist University at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Emerging victorious -- defeating the Spartans 14-1 -- the Johnnies were treated to another impressive display of offense once again led by Helmer who netted five goals and also had one assist.  Four points each were contributed by sophomore midfielder Owen Barkley (two goals, two assists) and Culshaw-Maurer (one goal, three assists).  Junior midfielder Miles Armitage and DeBruzzi each notched two goals and had one assist.

"These games showed what our team is capable of offensively," Daehn said. "We got a lot of scoring from our leaders mixed with support from our depth off the bench.  That's what our goal is and hopefully we continue that throughout the season."

In its third game within 24 hours, St. John's battled the weekend's hosting instituion, Lindenwood University-Belleville, at 6 p.m. also on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Despite a busy weekend schedule of shoveling snow, travel and games, the Johnnies earned their third victory of the regular season defeating the Lynx, 11-3.

Helmer led all players with five points (three goals, two assists) and Armitage netted a pair of goals.  Sophomore midfielder Andrew Fairbairn, Barkley, Culshaw-Maurer and Debruzzi each scored one goal and had on assist.

"I think the game against Lindenwood showed how strong our team was," Daehn said. "There were times during the weekend where it looked as though we wouldn't play any games and then all of a sudden we had four games in a 36 hour span.  Between shoveling hundreds of pounds of snow, travel and all the games -- I think we were tired both physically and mentally.  And (Lindenwood) was ready for us.

"But the great thing that the coaches have noticed with this team so far this season is their in-game attitude.  They do not want to lose, they support each other and they are ready to compete at a very high level each game."

Capping off a successful weekend, the Johnnies played Missouri State University at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, resulting in a 15-1 victory for St. John's.

Helmer and Barkley combined for 12 points -- scoring four goals each along with three assists from Helmer and one assist by Barkley -- and sophomore midfielder Cole Armitage added four points (one goal, three assists).  Fairbain scored two goals.

Freshmen midfielders Jake Harmon and Conlan Meade registered their first points as Johnnies -- each scoring one goal and having one assist.  Miles Armitage also had one goal and an assist.

"It was great to see the freshmen get their first points," Daehn said. "Not only do our more experienced players contribute points but they have had a great impact on our freshmen both on and off the field.

"This weekend was about getting off to a good start and I think we accomplished that.  We grew together as a team."

Both goaltenders -- senior Michael King and freshman Tyler Olson -- received playing time on the trip.  King earned the victory in all four games.

"Overall I'm pleased with how the trip went," Daehn said. "We did somethings very well but there is still a lot to improve on before our next road trip to Illinois."

The Johnnies travel to Illinois in late March where they will play Grand Valley State, the University of Dayton and Indiana Tech University.

Weekend Notes:  A game originally scheduled against the University of Northern Colorado was cancelled as the Bears were unable to make the trip due to the weather ... Following the weekend's games, the Johnnies now hold a record of 3-0 vs. Missouri Baptist and a record of 3-0 vs. Missouri State in the last five years ... Scoring 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) during the four games, Helmer is averaging 6.5 points per game which -- as of Thursday, Feb. 28 -- is the ninth best points per game average in MCLA Division II during the 2013 regular season.

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