Game Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Stream: NEC Front Row.
College Crosse Preview.
The Big BBQ 2017 is FINALLY here and we have a very tasty play-in game tonight to start off the festivities. The Monmouth Hawks come into this game on the nation’s longest winning streak, having won their last 11 contests. Monmouth won the 2017 MAAC Tournament after defeating Detroit Mercy 11-7 in the first round and then besting Marist 9-8 in the title game, to earn the conference’s automatic qualifier.
Monmouth is led on offense by Bryce Wasserman, who was named to the All-MAAC 1st Team. Wasserman leads the Hawks in goals (28), assists (15), and total points 43. Wasserman’s teammate, Tyler Keen, also an All-MAAC 1st Team selection, is right behind Wasserman in goals with 27 tallies on the season, and second on the squad in points with 32.
The Hawks have one of the best defenses in all of D1, having only allowed 7.24 goals/game in 2017. Monmouth’s star defensemen Andrew Grajewski & Garrett Pfeifer also made the All-MAAC 1st Team. Grajewski started all of Monmouth’s 17 games this year, and had the 4th most caused turnovers on the team, with 12 takeaways on the season. Pfeifer started 16 of Monmouth’s 17 games this year and had the second most caused turnovers on the team, with 17 CTs. Their goaltender Nick Hreshko (also a All-MAAC 1st Team selection) has been outstanding this season, and is third in the nation in save percentage, having stopped 59.3% of the shots he faced this year.
Bryant had a bit of a rocky start to their season, but they finished the regular season strong. Indeed, after starting the year 4-5, the Bull Dogs won six of their last 8 games, and swept through the NEC Tournament by beating Robert Morris and Hobart by a combined score of 17-7.
Six Bull Dogs made All-NEC this year, including four 1st Team selections. Seniors Tucker James and Kyle Mummau earned their third consecutive All-NEC First Team honors. Bryant is led on offense by their star senior Tucker James, who leads the team in goals (38), assists (27), and total points (65). Juniors Cam Ziegler and Tom Kennedy were not that far behind James, with 43 and 35 points on the season, respectively. Redshirt-junior faceoff specialist Kenny Massa (also a 1st Team All-NEC selection) is 16th in the nation in face-offs, having won 58.3% of the draws he took this year.
It’s almost unfair to call this a play-in game as both teams are two of the toughest teams in the nation, especially on defense (Bryant is not that far behind Monmouth in team defense, with the 6th best scoring defense in the country, having only allowed 7.94 goals/game this year). Indeed, Bryant took down Yale earlier this year by a score of 9-6, and Monmouth beat Villanova 12-10 in their first game of 2017. Moreover, Monmouth 3 losses this year were by a combined 4 goals, with two of their losses coming in OT. If these are considered two of the weaker teams in the tournament, we are in for a real treat tonight.
Game starts at 7:00. I’ll see you out there!