The Fairfield Stags lost to #3 ranked Loyola Greyhounds in the ECAC Championship Finals on Friday night by a 14-7 score. Stags now have to wait till Sunday night to hear if they will receive an at large birth for the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will be on Sunday night at 9 PM on ESPNU.
Loyola scored the first goal of the game at the 12 minute mark of the first period when Scott Ratliff was assisted on a goal by Justin Ward. John Snellman got Fairfield on the board with an unassisted goal 97 seconds later to tie the game at 1-1. Loyola’ J.P. Dalton scores unassisted at the 10:15 mark to put the Greyhounds up 2-1. Stag’s Eric Warden ties the game at 2-2 unassisted with 3:53 left in the period. Loyola scores 9 seconds later off the face off with Mike Sawyer getting a goal with an assist fro Davis Butts. With 2:20 remaining in the first period, Loyola makes it a 4-2 game with Justin Ward netting a goal from Chris Lane. Sam Snow gets a goal with to cut the lead to 4-3 with an assist from Colin McLinden with 27 showing on the clock. Fairfield wins the face off and takes a shot which the Loyola goal keeper makes a save Jack Runkel , clears to Reid Action who chucks the ball down the field 80 yards into the Stags net with one second left in the period to take a 5-3 lead at the end of the first period.
Loyola’s Ward opens the second period scoring with a goal at the 10:33 mark with an assist from Ratliff to make it a 6-3 game. The Greyhounds Sawyer make it a 7-3 game with an assist from Ward with 7:33 showing on the clock. Fairfield’s Snellman cuts the lead to 7-4 with an assist from Brent Adams with 1:58 left in the second period to close out the first half scoring.
The third period was all Loyola. They scored four unanswered goals to take a 11-4 lead.
The fourth period saw the Greyhounds open the scoring with an assisted goal from Chris Layne at 13:50. The Stags break the scoreless streak with Dylan McGoldrick’s first goal of the year with an assist from Max Buchanan who got his first point of the season for make it a 12-5 game at the 12:24 mark. Loyola responds with a goal to make it a 13-5 game. Nikko Pontrello scored with an assist from Ward. Fairfield gets the next two goals with Alex Cramer scoring unassisted at 3:26 and Brent Adams getting a man up goal from Sam Snow with 2:47 left in the game. Loyola’s Brian Schultz scores unassisted on an empty Fairfield net as the goal keeper Jack Murphy was out of the cage with 47 seconds left in the contest.
Loyola outshot the Stags 43-39 and had a 33 to 23 ground ball advantage. The Stags had 19 turnovers versus 8 turnovers for the Greyhounds. Face offs were 11 wins for each time out the 22 face offs. Charlie Ciprianon was credited with 12 saves while Loyola’s Runkel had five saves and his last minute replacement Michael Bonitaibus got 2 saves. Both Snellman and Cipriano were named to the all tournament team.
What are the Stags chances of getting an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Watching today’s Big East Finals game of Syracuse versus St. John’s, most of the experts has the Stags out of the tournament versus ECAC’s Denver being in the tournament. Explain to me how Denver with a 8-7 overall record, a 3-3 conference, a loss in the conference semi finals and a head to head loss to Fairifeld gets in? Just because they beat Duke who played their scout team in the first half? True they had a very high strength of schedule but versus the 12-4 Stags who beat Denver and got to the ECAC League finals? Seems like old boy Bill Tierney is getting his back scratched by his old cronies. Just my opinion. Let’s wait and see on Sunday night at 9 PM on ESPNU. Roger Yergeau ’73