Championship Weekend Kicks OffECRHA March 3rd, 2017 at 1:42PM March 3rd, 2017 7:42PM
The ECRHA Championships have begun at the Sportsplex in Feasterville, PA. With action in Divisions One through Three to start the day, there certainly has not been a lack of excitement in the building.
The day started with a pair of D2 matchups. On one end of the building, we saw Yeshiva make a statement that they are not holding anything back this weekend. Penn State goalie Justin Rossi did what he could in the first period. But five minutes in, Yeshiva’s Jesse Gordon opened the scoring. Less than two minutes later, Avi Margulie put Yeshiva up 2-0, and from there the scoring continued. Final Score: Yeshiva 9 Penn State 0.
On the other half of the bracket, we saw our first nail-biter of the weekend between Endicott and Oswego. D2 points leader Corey Eisenbrand would start things off early for the Gulls as he’d notch an unassisted tally less than a minute into the first. From their, Oswego would answer with two goals of their own. From there, the two teams would continue trading goals in pairs throughout the first and second periods, and heading into the third, we saw Endicott up 5-4. That was, until Oswego’s Jack Tofallo’s would even the score at 5 with just under 10 minutes remaining. But, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time until Eisenbrand would find himself on the scoresheet again, and he did, at 7:39 of the third, to give the Gulls the lead and the win. Final Score: Endicott 6 Oswego 5.
The intensity in the building continued to roll as the Division 1 teams took the floor. On rink one, 3rd seed West Chester faced off against 6th seeded Rowan. Early on, it looked as if West Chester would control the game. We saw the Rams go up 2-0 halfway through the first period, and outshoot Rowan 14-4 early on. However, Rowan came out quickly in the 2nd, with a goal from Joseph Coffin 1:30 in, and continued their barrage of shots at West Chester goalie John Wittman. Rowan created opportunity after opportunity, but could not solve Wittman, as West Chester would hold on. Final Score: West Chester 2 Rowan 1.
Simultaneously, we saw an early contendor for game of the weekend, as the D1 Four and Five seeds, UMass and Rhode Island, squared off. With an abundance of offensive firepower on each side, the teams traded chances throughout the first period, until with 1 second left in the period on the power play, Rhode Island’s Gil Lederhandler put away a chance to go up 1-0. In the second, the back and forth play continued, but Rhode Island was able to solve Jordan Davis twice again and end the second up 3-0. From here, craziness ensued. UMass’ veteran leader Aaron Marcel started the comeback trail 3 minutes into the 3rd, followed by Ryan Dougherty at the 8:47 mark to make it a one goal game. Rhode Island would add an insurance tally just over a minute later to go up 4-2, but twenty seconds following, Marcel would score his second to climb within one yet again. UMass would pull their goalie with around a minute thirty remaining, to which Rhode Island would add an empty net goal. Yet twenty seconds later yet again, Dougherty would score again for UMass, making it 5-4 in favor of Rhode Island. Umass continued to throw what they could at the Rams goaltender, but would end up falling, and with that falling into the loser’s bracket. Final Score: Rhode Island 5 UMass 4.
After seeing Rhode Island top UMass, everyone in the building seemed to be upset watch. Action was picking up, and teams became more and more vocal on the rink. Division three teams then took the rink for their winner’s round one matchups. On one end of the building, we saw Rowan (9-7) pit against Northeastern (3-13). In what many expected to be a fairly one sided affair, turned out to be yet another tooth and nail battle. Through the first period, teams exchanged chances, Rowan pulled ahead early, while Northeastern managed a goal of their own at 9:44, making the score 1-1 at the end of one. In the second, Rowan wasted no time yet again, as Mike Wallach would find the back of the net at 2:12, followed by Sam Richards just over a minute later. Then, it seemed as if a new Northeastern team took the rink. With three goals in less than 4 minutes time, the Huskies found themselves up 4-3 at the end of two. Thomas Berotti committed a tripping penalty 59 seconds into the third period, but from that, Northeastern found the net again, scoring a shorthanded marker, and extending their lead to 5-3. Mike Wallach would answer with his second of the game on the powerplay. From their, Northeastern would lengthen their lead to 2 yet again, going up 6-4. But as time ticked down, so did the energy in the Huskies’ legs it seemed, playing with only 4 men, Rowan scored 3 unanswered, with the last coming from Connor Tunstall with 55 seconds remaining, to earn the win. Final Score: Rowan 7 Northeastern 6.
To wrap up our winner’s round one matches, we saw Cortland and Hofstra battle each other on rink two. Similar to many of our early matchups Friday afternoon, the Pride and Red Dragons traded opportunities in the first, with shots going 10-7 in favor of Cortland. The routine of quick 2nd period goals continued as Hofstra’s Elijah Vaillancourt scores 1:16 into the second to take the lead for the Pride. However, that’s the only time Hofstra would find the back of the net, as Cortland would score two in the second, at 5:18 and 7:18 respectively, as well as adding two additional goals in the third. Final Score: Cortland 4 Hofstra 1.
That wraps up the entirety of the Winner’s Round One matchups on ECRHA Championship weekend in Divisions 1 through 3. D4 Round Robin play will begin tonight at 5pm. With a few notable teams taking losses, they will attempt to make loser’s bracket runs and vouch for an ECRHA Championship.