Bryant's grip on the Northeast Conference became tighter following the Bulldogs' 10-4 suffocation of Hobart in the league's tournament championship. Bryant has won three consecutive Northeast Conference Tournament championships and stand as the only school in the league to have earned an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament as the conference's champion.
The win for Bryant, one that resembled the thumping that the Bulldogs put on the Statesmen in late-March, was a defensive masterpiece: Gunnar Waldt -- Bryant's seismic backstop -- made 15 saves and held an eye-popping 78.95 save percentage; Hobart was limited to under 15 percent shooting, generating just two assists and putting a quiet 18 shots on goal; and the Bulldogs forced the Statesmen into an extended period of static silence, putting together a 25:06 scoreless stretch that started at the 2:06 mark of the second period and closed with a Brendan Saylor man-up goal with 12:00 remaining in regulation. Bryant put its hands around Hobart's neck and refused to let go until its offense had done the damage necessary to net the Bulldogs' a trip to a May adventure.
And that offense responded: Out of the intermission and in the midst of Hobart's scoring drought, the Bulldogs used the early half of the third quarter -- a 4:16 stretch -- to turn a two-goal lead at the break into a five-goal cushion. The 7-2 advantage was the widest margin of the game until the Bulldogs tacked on two goals late in regulation, and that lead was more than enough to send the Statesmen home with a runner-up medal in the program's first tour through the league. Shane Morrell was the offensive star for the Bulldogs against the Statesmen, trucking five goals on nine shots while contributing two tallies to Bryant's decisive push out of halftime.
Bryant now awaits its opponent in The Big Barbeque. The Bulldogs are likely destined for the play-in round against a lower-tier conference champion, but Bryant's defensive approach and ability at the dot could create problems for a first round opponent if the Bulldogs are able to find a weekend date on their calendar.
TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||16.00||32.26|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||14.81%||27.03%|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.08||1.19|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||32.00||38.71|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions||25.00||46.43|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||32.36||60.00|
|Team Save Percentage||50.00%||78.95%|