Endicott Sinks Pilgrims to Capture TCCC Championship

BEVERLY, Mass. Senior Brad Lipkvich (Madison, Conn.) and freshman Connor McCormack (Norwalk, Conn.) each tallied three goals apiece while goalkeeper Eric Hagarty (Madison, Conn.) made 14 saves as Endicott College defeated New England College, 11-6, to win the 2010 The Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship on a rain-soaked afternoon in Beverly, Mass. The conference title is the program's sixth and its first since 2007. The Gulls now await word from the NCAA Selection Committee as to who their first round opponent will be.

A fast moving first quarter yielded just a single goal, which came off the stick of Connor McCormack 4:11 into the contest. The quick-footed attackman swept from his right to left, freezing New England College goalkeeper Nick Fischer (South Burlington, Vt.) with a hard overhand shot to give the Gulls a 1-0 lead.

The Blue and Green exploded for a four goal outpouring in the second quarter, its highest scoring frame on the day. Jonathan Prentice (Chelmsford, Mass.) scored on a short-side snipe, followed by a fast break man-up strike from Brendan McCarthy (Arlington, Vt.). Lipkvich scored his first of the day with 5:43 remaining before halftime after he gathered his own rebound off the post and shoveled the put-back past an outstretched Fischer to give the hosts a commanding 4-0 lead.

The Pilgrims got on the board 1:24 later when Matt Vozzolo (Somers, Conn.) took a feed off goal line extended from Chris Harris (Baltimore, Md.) and finally broke through Eric Hagarty with a shot to the low-right corner. The Gulls got the goal back before the intermission, however, when Colin Prescott (Norwalk, Conn.) walked out in front and stuck a bid into the upper left corner to give Endicott a 5-1 lead at the intermission.

The two sides traded goals throughout the third quarter, with each team scoring three times apiece in the frame. NEC's Matt Carey (Medford, N.Y.) got the scoring started just 29 seconds into the third, only to have Jonathan Prentice fire back just 2:23 later. Vozzolo scored his second of the day, followed by back-to-back tallies from Connor McCormack just 54 seconds apart. John Gabriel (West Nyack, N.Y.) kept the visitors within striking distance at 8-4 heading into the fourth after he scored on an overhand shot top-shelf for the final tally of the third.

Endicott grabbed the game for good in the fourth quarter, scoring just 20 seconds into the frame on a crank shot from Lipkvich off a pass from Jack Curtis (Chelmsford, Mass.). John Gabriel responded at the 9:51 mark, only to have Chris Gugino (West Hartford, Conn.) retaliate a mere 19 seconds later with a goal of his own. Lipkvich scored again, for good measure, before the Pilgrim's Clint McDonough (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) completed the scoring for an 11-6 final.

Both goalkeepers were stellar on Saturday, with Hagarty making 14 saves and his counterpart Nick Fischer turning in his second 20-save performance of the postseason. Fischer made 14 saves in the first half, while Hagarty played his best in the second and fourth quarters, making four saves in each frame.

Brad Lipkvich led the way with three goals and one assist, while McCormack had three goals of his own. Jonathan Prentice scored twice and Jack Curtis dished out three helpers. Three other Gulls notched single tallies in the win.

New England College got a pair of goals from both John Gabriel and Matt Vozzolo. Matt Carey had one and one while Chris Harris tallied two assists.

Endicott outshot NEC at a 46-28 clip, including 30-11 in the first half. The Gulls held a 41-32 advantage in groundballs and also won 12 of the game's 19 face-offs.

The Blue and Green return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. The Gulls will learn their first round opponent on Sunday evening, with opening round play beginning the weekend of May 15-16.

2010-05-08



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