The regular season is over and it’s time for the post-season. The America East tournament looks a little different than has in past years due to where certain teams are seeded in the conference. The America East was actually pretty crazy this year as there wasn’t really a clear cut favorite after the season got kicked into full gear. This may be the most even, and could be the craziest America East tournament we have seen since 2016 when Hartford upset everyone and won the tournament.
The America East tournament will kick off on Thursday, May 2nd with the semifinals. In the semifinals the top seed Stony Brook with play the fourth seeded UMBC and number two seed Vermont will play number three seed Albany. The championship game is on Saturday, Nay 4th.
#2 Vermont vs #3 Albany – Semifinals
In the first semifinal game Vermont takes on Albany in what should be a very good one. With both teams being maybe the most talented teams in the conference, expect this one to be a battle just like their last meeting, which was a 10-9 win for Vermont.
Vermont comes into this one after two close losses to end the regular season, which was very bumpy for the Catamounts. On the defensive side of the ball they are led by senior goalie Nick Washuta who is one of the bets in the country, racking up 178 saves this season so far. On offense, they are led by freshman attackman David Closterman who has tallied 40 points (30G,10A) thought the season thus far. Senior attackman Dawes Milchling also has 38 points (23G,15A) so far this season. The Catamounts are more of a defensive heavy team, but they can certainly get it done at both ends of the field and have proved it time and time again this year.
For Albany, they are led by Tehoka Nanticoke at the attack position. Nanticoke is very hard to guard and stop as he can use his body to just make his way straight to the cage. Thus far Nantickoe has 35 points (24G,11A). Jakob Patterson is the point leader for Albany this season with 53 points (24G,29A) thus far. The Albany offense is the staple of their team as they play fast paced and it is fun to watch when they are clicking on all cylinders. On defense, Nate Siekierski has been leading the way in cage with 162 saves on the year thus far. This is an Albany team that is a shell of what they were last season but they still have the talent to get it done at both ends and be successful.
#1 Stony Brook vs #4 UMBC – Semifinals
The second semifinal on Thursday features the top seeded Stony Brook Seawolves and the number four seed UMBC Retrievers. These two squads met in the regular season in mid-March and Stony Brook took that one 14-7. It is the post-season and stakes are at an all-time high, so expect this one to be a little closer and more competitive than the regular season meeting.
The Seawolves is coming into the post-season after finishing the regular season on a three-game winning streak. Stony Brook’s offense has been good, but junior attackman Tom Haun has carried most of the weight with 43 points (31G,12A) thus far. In cage, the Seawolves defense has been anchored by Michael Bollinger who has made 162 saves so far this season. LSM/D Ryland Rees has also been very impressive as well, helping to lead the defense. Stony Brook has a pretty balanced attack and I expect them to use that to the best of their ability against UMBC just like they did in the regular season.
UMBC comes into the America East tournament after winning their final regular season game to help them get in. The Retrievers have been much improved this season on both ends of the field and it has shown for sure. Their defense know as the “Killer Bees” is the back bone of this team, and anchoring the defense in cage is Tommy Lingner who has made 84 saves with a 41% save percentage this season. Junior defenseman Colin Kasner has been a leader on defense with 26 caused turnovers and 34 ground balls this season. On offense UMBC is led by junior attackman Ryan Frawley and sophomore attackman Trevor Patschorke who both have 37 points on the season thus far. UMBC likes to play aggressive and expect to see that style come out in this matchup for sure.
Semifinal 1 Winner vs Semifinal 2 Winner – Championship
The winner of each semifinal will advance to the America East championship game that will be players on Saturday, May 4th at noon.