The Stags never trailed in their semifinal round defeat of the Wolverines and were only tied once -- at 1-1 -- early in the first quarter. Using two three-goal runs, Fairfield dispatched Michigan -- making their first postseason appearance ever -- with cold ruthlessness, a seven-goal victory that featured 13 Wolverines turnovers and a plus-eight run-of-play groundball margin in favor of the Stags. Colin McLinden -- one of the stealthiest offensive weapons in the nation -- had four goals on nine shots as the Stags shot 31 percent against Michigan. The win propels Fairfield into the ECAC championship game, the only likely path that the Stags have to the NCAA Tournament. Another big day from Jack Murphy -- the Fairfield keeper had 15 stops for the Stags against the Wolverines -- could give Fairfield the lift it needs to move past Air Force.
Outscoring the Buckeyes 5-1 in the third period, the Falcons turned a one-goal lead into an 11-5 advantage that would sink Ohio State on the Buckeyes' home field. The five-goal run came in a 9:32 stretch and featured two man-up goals at its genesis. It was a highly efficient quarter for the Falcons, getting its five goals on 11 shots, turning eight possessions into five buckets while turning the ball over only three times. Air Force hit its marks when it needed to most, halting a dangerous Ohio State team in a toss-up game that appeared destined for a close finish at the half. Mike Crampton led the way for Air Force with five goals on 10 shots while Jesse King closed his junior season with three goals on seven shots.
The Saints advanced to their sixth consecutive MAAC Tournament championship on the backs of Richie Hurley and Conor Prunty, the two offensive savants combining for 11 of Siena's 21 points and half of the team's 14 goals. After falling into a two-goal hole in the first quarter, the Saints exploded for five goals in the second period, stringing together tallies in a 7:14 stretch that built Siena a 6-3 lead. Canisius wouldn't yield, though, pulling to within one -- 7-8 -- at the 4:46 mark of the third period. The Saints quickly responded to the Griffs' defiance, putting three goals on the board in the final 3:38 of the penultimate period -- including a back-breaking goal from Prunty with three seconds remaining in the quarter -- to give Siena an 11-7 lead, one that Canisius could not erase completely despite scoring four goals in the final stanza. Tim Edwards had an odd day for Canisius, totaling three points but winning only four of 14 draws and turning the ball over four times.
A four-goal run over the final 3:54 of regulation gave Marist a two-goal win over Detroit in a hectic and tight battle on the Red Foxes' home field. The Titans appeared poised to end Marist's season after a three-goal push in a 5:34 stretch early in the fourth period. A goal from Mike Birney and two consecutive strikes from Shayne Adams (Adams finished with six goals on nine shots) gave Detroit a 9-7 lead with 8:33 left to play. It was the first two-goal lead for either team on the day. Then the Marist explosion came: A J.D. Recor goal on a Joseph Radin assist pulled the Foxes within one; a Drew Nesmith tally 48 seconds later knotted the scoreboard at nine; and then a Recor bucket 15 seconds after Nesmith's goal pushed Marist into the lead for good with 2:51 to play. Jason Weber made 16 stops for the Titans while Dave Scarcello had 15 in the win for the Red Foxes.
The most stunning decision of the day came from Hawk Hill as the Statesmen outlasted St. Joseph's in double overtime, dropping the Hawks out of the NEC Tournament and setting the stage for Hobart -- a team that started 2014 with five consecutive losses -- to chase down the league's automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament. It took some massive heroics from the Statesmen to move past the top-seeded Hawks, getting a man-up goal from Taylor Vanderbeek with 11 seconds remaining in regulation. The goal came just 10 seconds into the penalty, one derived from Pat Swanick committing a 1:00 cross-check violation. With the scoreboard knotted at nine, Hobart and St. Joseph's needed another 5:38 to determine a winner, the deciding goal coming from Jake McHenry on a Cam Stone feed (the two attackmen combined for six of Hobart's 15 points against St. Joseph's). Peter Zonino was feeling colors against the Hawks, making 17 stops including five in the fourth quarter, saves that tilted the tide against a St. Joseph's team that ran even with the Statesmen in possession margin. The loss was the first for the Hawks in Northeast Conference play this season and ends an important year of growth for St. Joseph's.
Earth has not spun into the sun yet and that means that Bryant is in the NEC Tournament championship game. The Bulldogs weren't especially sharp in their semifinal date against the Pioneers, committing 17 turnovers on an estimated 36 offensive opportunities and yielding more goals -- on a per possession basis -- to the Pioneers than the Bryant was putting on the scoreboard at the other end of the field (half of Sacred Heart's scoring, though, came in the fourth quarter after the Bulldogs built a seven-goal advantage). The Bulldogs will need some sharper play against a motivated Hobart team in the league's title game if it hopes to secure its second NCAA Tournament invitation in the program's short history. James Tucker and Shane Morrell had four points each for Bryant while Alex Dodge shouldered much of Sacred Heart's offense, putting three points in the score sheet (two goals and a helper) and registering nine shots.