After the final horn sounded on Friday night from Worcester, the Patriot League playoffs were determined. The Holy Cross Crusaders snuck into their first-ever post season while, for the second straight year, the Boston University Terriers were on the outside looking in.
#4 Army Black Knights vs #5 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Both Army and Lehigh have had strong seasons after plenty of question marks going into the year. Lehigh had lost their three best players, including their starting goaltender. The Black Knights had also lost their starting goalie and their leading scorer.
Earlier on in the season, the Black Knights defeated the Mountain Hawks, 11-8, coming back from a two goal deficit at the half. This will be the 30th all-time meeting between the two teams.
Led by Patriot League first-teamers Cole Johnson, Dan Grabher, and Austin Schultz, the Black Knights have become one of the most put-together teams in the entire conference. Despite the loss of superstar John Glesener, Johnson, along with freshman Nate Jones, have stepped up to help the Black Knights become one of the best offenses in the league. Freshman goalie AJ Barretto has also become a solid goaltender, making the Patriot League second team. Army has lost three of their last four games after starting the season 7-2.
Lehigh, despite the graduations of Dan Taylor and Patrick Corbett, have been led by freshman star Tristian Rai. Reid Weber, their only first teamer, has also stepped up to become that scorer that the Mountain Hawks had hoped for. This is the sixth straight conference tournament appearance for the Mountain Hawks. However, they have lost their last four playoff games.
#3 Bucknell Bison vs #6 Holy Cross Crusaders
Holy Cross is in its first-ever post season tournament since joining the Patriot League, thanks to a surprising victory over Boston University this past Friday night. Bucknell has quietly been one of the best teams in the conference all season, locking up the third seed.
Will Sands scored a career high seven goals to lead the Bison over the Crusaders earlier on in the season, and Bucknell is a whopping 26-0 against Holy Cross historically.
Bucknell did not have a single player on the Patriot League first team, but had their freshman goaltender, Christian Klipstein, made second team. Junior attack Jon Vogel leads the way for the Crusaders with 40 points this season, and Holy Cross has won its last three games despite losing its first eight games of the season.
Byes: #1 Navy Midshipmen, #2 Loyola Greyhounds