Patriot League Tournament: Lehigh, Loyola Advance to Semifinals

(Photo Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics)

Trailing 3-2 at the half, the No. 3 seed Lehigh Mountain Hawks broke loose in the final two frames to earn a 12-8 victory over rival and No. 6 seed Lafayette in the Patriot League quarterfinals.

Lehigh (10-4, 6-2 Patriot League) will advance to the Patriot League semifinals on Friday where they will face No. 2 seed Army West Point (10-3, 7-1 Patriot League).

Scott Cole (3G), Justin Tiernan (3G), and Christian Mule’ (5A) combined for 11 points on the day as the heralded Lehigh attack unit found its rhythm to pace the Mountain Hawks in the victory. Mike Sisselberger went 16-for-21 (76%) at the faceoff dot while Nick Pecora made 10 saves in the win.

Anchored by a 15-save day from Joe Doherty, the Lafayette defense held strong through the first two quarters of play as it held the Mountain Hawks to just two goals off 18 shots. Doherty made seven saves through those first two frames.

The Mountain Hawks, however, were able to chip away at the lead and eventually catch fire in the third quarter. Quinn Armstrong sent home a rocket early in the third while Justin Tiernan followed up a few minutes later with his second score of the contest. Both scores tied things up (3-3 and 4-4). That Tiernan goal was followed by a quick strike from Scott Cole as pole Richard Checo found him on the doorstep after nabbing a ground ball off the faceoff.

From Tiernan’s score at the 9:39 mark of the third through the 7:47 mark of the fourth quarter, Lehigh scored eight unanswered goals to pull away 11-4. That run included a pair of man-up scores from Quinn Armstrong and Scott Cole.

A behind-the-back strike from Liam Sargent at the 1:56 mark capped a four-goal Lafayette run to make it an 11-8 game. However, the Leopards would be unable to get any further opportunities to go and a Dakota Eierman score at the 12 second mark following a game-sealing stop on the other end proved to be icing on the cake in the Mountain Hawks’ victory.

Lafayette (6-10, 3-5 Patriot League) was led by John Mathes and Carter Cecil as each tallied two goals.

Strong First Half Pushes Loyola Past Navy

The No. 5 seed Loyola Greyhounds knocked off the No. 4 seed Navy Midshipmen in Annapolis on Tuesday night in a 12-7 contest to advance to the semifinals. The Greyhounds exploded through the first 30-plus minutes of the contest and held off a Navy comeback down the stretch to secure the win.

Loyola (8-7, 4-4 Patriot League) will move to face No. 1 seed Boston U. on Friday night in the Patriot League semifinals.

Evan James led the Greyhounds with six goals while Luke Staudt made 18 saves on the day to anchor the Loyola defense.

James put home the first two scores early in the first quarter to pull the Greyhounds ahead 2-0. While Patrick Skalniak, who made his return tonight after missing most of the season due to injury, got the Midshipmen on the board with a man-up score at the 5:12 mark of the first quarter it would be their only score for nearly 25 minutes. Their next goal wouldn’t come until a Xavier Arline strike early in the third quarter.

A pair from Will Sherwood and Payton Rezanka in the final 47 seconds of the opening frame helped spark what would become a 6-0 Loyola run that lasted through the 11:47 mark of the third quarter. It was a Davis Lindsey tally that capped the run to pull the Greyhounds ahead 8-1.

Navy got off 14 shots during that dry spell and eight of those were stopped by Loyola’s Luke Staudt as the Loyola defense was able to turn back any Midshipmen effort during that stretch.

Despite being down 8-1 early in the third quarter, Navy would begin to capitalize down the stretch as the Midshipmen outscored Loyola 6-4 from the 11:38 mark of the third through the final buzzer and 6-5 through the second half as a whole. An 11-for-12 (91%) mark at the faceoff dot from Anthony Ghobriel (17-for-22, 77%) in the final two frames helped aide in the Navy run to cut the Loyola lead to 9-7 with 6:30 remaining.

Evan James put home two straight late and Adam Poitras followed with one of his own to help put this one away in favor of the Greyhounds. Navy got five shots off in the final 6:30 of the contest in an effort to fully comeback but only one of those shots came on cage and Staudt was there for the save.

Navy (8-8, 5-3 Patriot League) was led by Henry Tolker (2G/1A) and Patrick Skalniak (2G/1A) with identical stat lines for three points. Pat Ryan made 11 saves in cage.


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