Eagles Top Warriors in Overtime Contest

ST. DAVIDS, Pa.- Will Johnson scored his third goal of the afternoon with 66 seconds left in overtime to lift Eastern to a critical 9-8 overtime win over the visiting Lycoming Warriors. Johnson's tally came after the Warriors scored twice in the final eight minutes of play to send the game into overtime.

The game started in a steady rain, and it looked as though the Eagles might run away with the game early as they jumped to a 3-0 lead in the opening ten minutes of play. Dave Darling opened the scoring with a shot on the crease from Chris Farrar four and a half minutes into the game. Johnson tallied his first on another Farrar feed, and Matt Soldano banged home his first of three on the day in a two man advantage situation. Lycoming (6-6, 5-2 MAC) controlled the next tow face-offs and capitalized nearly immediately to trim the Eastern lead to 3-2.

Soldano restored the two-goal edge with a shot in transition to close the first frame. The Eagles, up 4-2, held an 8-5 edge in shots and controlled much of the possession through the first 15 minutes. The second quarter looked nearly nothing like the first. Lycoming fired 17 shots and outscored the Eagles 3-1 in the frame to tie the score at 5-5. The damage could have been worse, but Eastern goalie Aaron Benz turned away 12 of his 16 saves in the period.

"Can I just say something about Benz?" Johnson asked after the game. "Yeah, I don't really even know what to say, except he totally bailed us out in the second period. He was awesome." Johnson's assessment could have extended beyond mere shot-stopping as the sophomore goalie helped the Eagles to succeed on 25-27 clears through the afternoon.

The Eagles scored their only goal of the period on a man-up goal from Matt Wagner on another Johnson feed. Wagner, who missed much of the early part of the year with injury is working his way back into form and has scored in each of the last two games. The Eagles finished 3-5 in man-up opportunities and held Lycoming to 1-6.

Stephen Romano scored his third of the day early in the third period to put the guests up, but Soldano answered on a feed from Johnson and Darling fired a blistering shot from the perimeter in another man-up situation restore the Eastern lead. Johnson was credited with his third helper of the day. Johnson gave the Eagles a two-goal cushion on another Farrar feed early in the fourth, and the momentum seemed to be going the Eagles' way.

A two-minute penalty midway through the period gave the visitors renewed hope, and Romano put home his fourth to close the gap, and Ben Walker rolled in his second of the day to tie the game with three minutes left. The Eagles had the final chance of regulation, but Zac Ivy's shot from 12 yards outdid not cross the goal-line until after the horn and the game went to overtime.

"AJ [Ryan]had a tough day all day," Head Coach Brandon Childs said after the game, "but he got the face-off win in overtime." It was not as simple as getting the first possession and scoring. The Eagles had the first two shots, but the Warriors earned possession and had a chance to score, but a moving screen on the ball gave the Eagles the ball again and the home side took advantage.

"Sols [Matt Soldano] made a great pass," Johnson said afterward, "it started with a strong dodge, and I was the fade guy. I had been open a lot there during the day, but it is a tough pass to make.Sols found me, and Eric Nelson had been telling me all day to shoot low skippers. I did it and that was it." Johsnon's goal gives the Eagles their first win over Lycoming in program history and also puts Eastern in a favorable position to earn a home playoff game.

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