NCAA Play-In Games: Vermont, Delaware Let Offense Fly in Victories

(Photo Courtesy of Delaware Athletics)

For a second consecutive season, the Vermont Catamounts will get their shot at the top-seeded Maryland Terrapins during the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Catamounts will enter Sunday’s contest against the Terps on a 10-game winning streak after dominating the Manhattan Jaspers, 15-3, on Wednesday night to earn to advance out of the play-in round. The win marked the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.

Vermont opened the season with a 2-6 record that featured a season-opening loss to Duke, one-goal defeats against Brown, Dartmouth, and Utah, as well as two-goal losses against Providence and UMass. But since that loss to the Minutemen, the Catamounts have been on a roll. Part of that effort is due to the Catamounts’ offensive firepower, defensive prowess, and faceoff success all coming together.

Wednesday night saw the Catamounts continue that trend as they put it all together on all ends in their route of Manhattan.

Thomas McConvey and Michael McCormack each put up five goals and one assists for a combined 12 points. Additionally, Liam Limoges netted a hat trick and dished out two assists for five points on the day.

Tommy Burke was, once again, a lynchpin at the dot as he went 19-for-21 (90%). Ryan Cornell made 13 saves in cage.

Brendan Krebs stopped a shot from Colin Sharkey early in the game and within 30 seconds the ball was in the back of the net on the other end via a Kyle Gucwa score to put Manhattan on the board first. That early 1-0 edge is the only lead the Jaspers would see all day.

Less than a minute after Manhattan put home the first score of the day, Liam Limoges got the Catamounts offense rolling and they would never stop. Vermont went on a 15-plus, eight-minute run to pull ahead 8-2 with 10:04 remaining in the second quarter. Limoges would get another first-half score as he found the back of the net late in the second quarter to make it a 9-3 Vermont lead at the break. All but one of Vermont’s first-half scores came from McConvey, McCormack, and Limoges.

Vermont outscored the Jaspers 6-1 in the second half to close out the contest and earn the 12-goal victory.

Liam Walshe led Manhattan with two goals. Brendan Krebs made 14 saves and Tadhg O’Riordan caused three turnovers.

Delaware Goes Wire-to-Wire Against Robert Morris

The Delaware Blue Hens heated up once more on Wednesday night as they defeated the Robert Morris Colonials 20-8 to advance from the NCAA Play-In round, setting up a matchup against second-seeded Georgetown on Sunday in the first round.

The win not only brings the Blue Hens’ winning streak to six, but also marks the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 2007, when they made one of the more magical postseason runs in the sport’s history with their first-round upset of Virginia en route to a Championship Weekend appearance two weeks later. The 20-goal outing sets a new program record for goals in a game.

Since starting 0-2 in CAA play, the offensive trio of Tye Kurtz, JP Ward, and Mike Robinson have picked up the pace to lead what has been a fierce Delaware offense. That trio kept the pace on Wednesday night, combining for 17 points in the Blue Hens’ 12-goal victory.

Ward ended the day with seven points off five goals and two assists. Robinson had three goals and three assists for six points. Kurtz netted a hat trick while also dishing out one assist.

Delaware led wire-to-wire, never trailing and never allowing the Colonials to tie things up. Kurtz got the scoring started before Ward and Kyle Kivinski followed up with scores of their own to pull the Blue Hens out front 3-0 early in the contest.

A man-up Corson Kealey (4G/1A) score off a Taggart Clark (1G/2A) feed got Robert Morris on the board with 8:19 remaining in the first quarter and pulled them within 3-1, which is as close as the Colonials got all game. Delaware struck back with a seven-goal run through the midway point of the second quarter to help them pull ahead 10-2 at the half.

From the 10:42 mark in the third quarter through the 10:00 mark in the final frame, Delaware outscored Robert Morris 9-2 to take their largest lead of the game, 19-4, and essentially put this one to bed. Delaware native Demetrius Stevenson put in the final score for the Blue Hens with 1:38 remaining.

Aiding in the Blue Hens’ offensive dominance, Logan Premtaj 12-for-19 (63%) at the faceoff dot. Matt Kilkeary made nine saves in cage, playing 57 minutes of the contest.

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