America East Championship: New Conference, Same Success For Bryant

(Photo Courtesy of Bryant Athletics)

The Bryant Bulldogs came into 2023 with a lot being new. The Bulldogs were led by first-year head coach Brad Ross following the retirement of Mike Pressler and had a new conference to call home after leaving the NEC for the America East.

Despite all the newness in Smithfield, the Bulldogs proved to remain just as successful as ever.

On Saturday afternoon Bryant took down UAlbany 12-11 in double overtime to capture the America East Tournament. It marks the seventh conference championship in program history for the Bulldogs. They will head to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time as a program.

Kevin Groeninger (5G/2A) might have led the way for Bryant in the win with seven points but it was Aidan Goltz who proved to be the hero of the afternoon. Following an Albany turnover, Goltz found himself behind the cage and matched up against Blake Runkle. Goltz beat his man, turned above GLE, and put home the game-winner to keep Bryant’s season alive.

Bryant got on the board first and never trailed until late in the third quarter despite Albany chipping away at the lead from the second quarter onward. Alex Pfeiffer gave Albany its first lead of the game (10-9) with nine seconds left in the third quarter. Silas Richmond put the Great Danes up, 11-10, once again with 2:14 remaining in regulation. His score snapped what was a nearly 10-minute stretch with no scoring.

With time ticking down in regulation, Kevin Groeninger dodged from X and would find Timmy Hackett on the doorstep on the far side. Hackett would put the rock into the back of the net with 14.8 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime.

Both sides had opportunities in what was a wild first overtime period that saw things end with a 30-second Bryant man-up. Timmy Hackett got off a shot as time expired but missed wide. Jack Lonsinger and Aidan Goltz each got shots off for the Bulldogs during the period as well. Albany got one settled possession but turned the ball over coming out of a timeout. The Danes also committed a turnover later in the frame as they tried to capitalize on turnover from Bryant.

Aidan Goltz and Jack Lonsinger each had two goals for the Bulldogs. Teegan Alexander made 12 saves and Nathan Laliberte went 13-for-23 (57%) at the faceoff dot.

Silas Richmond had a hat trick for the Great Danes.

Bryant (12-4, 5-2 America East) will await for Sunday night to see where they are slated in the NCAA Tournament.


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