Scranton Ends Goucher's Winning Streak in OT

SCRANTON, Pa.-Junior midfielder Mike Rufo (Broomall, Pa./Haverford School) scored the final two goals of the game as Scranton kept its Landmark Conference tournament hopes alive with a dramatic 9-8 victory in overtime against defending champion Goucher Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Field.

Rufo tied it up moments earlier, scoring a goal on a play set up by senior attacker Sean Coleman (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) with 2:23 remaining in regulation as the Royals scored three times in the final 10 minutes of the fourth period to erase an 8-5 deficit.

Scranton, now 6-7 overall and 2-2 in the conference, was led by sophomore attacker Taylor Nelson (Chester Springs, Pa./Downingtown East) with three goals, Rufo finished with two, and freshman Gus Sturm (Devon, Pa./Conestoga) and seniors Robert Pantages (Roseland, N.J./West Essex), Thomas Alati (Glen Ridge, N.J./Montclair Kimberly) and JP Barton (North Brunswick, N.J./St. Joseph Metuchen) added one apiece.

The Royals, who held a 53-25 advantage in shots and a 42-24 margin in ground balls, also received three assists from senior Keenan Dowd (Binghamton, N.Y./Seton Catholic) and senior face-off specialist Patrick Cefalu (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) won 16 of 20 face-off attempts.

Junior midfielder Matt Lynch (Ivyland, Pa./LaSalle College) led the Gophers, now 9-5 overall and 3-1 in the Landmark, with three goals and two assists and junior attacker Rory Averett (Ivyland, Pa./Council Rock North) contributed three goals.

Both team had opportunities to win the game in regulation after Rufo's goal.

Goucher senior defender Justin Dunn (Denver, Colo./Mullen) caused a turnover, came up with a ground ball, and the Gophers successfully cleared the ball with 1:09 remaining. After a timeout, however, Goucher turned it over, giving Scranton a chance to win it in the closing seconds. The Royals then cleared the ball successfully, but were unable to get off a shot attempt.

Defensively, the Royals shut down the Gophers after falling behind 6-4 by intermission, holding them to just two goals in the final 32 minutes play. Regardless, Goucher still managed to build up two three-goal leads in the second half, the last of which came on a goal by Lynch off of an assist by Averett with 10:44 remaining.

The Royals dug deep and answered with a goal by Sturm answered 37 seconds later after Goucher's last goal and Nelson followed nearly four minutes later with an unassisted goal to cut the margin to 8-7.

Sophomore goalie Connor Mishaw (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine) finished with 17 saves, including 10 after intermission, and sophomore Ben Worthington (Jenkintown, Pa./Archbishop Wood) replaced starting Royal goalie Jeremy Dowiak (Hackettstown, N.J./West Morris) in the second half and finished with four saves.

With today's win, the Royals move into a three-way tie for third place in the Landmark Conference with one league game remaining, next Saturday, April 30, against Catholic University in Washington, DC. The top four teams advance to the Landmark tournament, with the number one and two seeds hosting semifinal games on Wednesday, May 4.

News & Notes: The all-time series between Scranton and Goucher is now tied at 3-3 ... the Royals posted their first win over the Gophers since a 10-9 victory on April 29, 2009, in Towson, Maryland ... three of the last four meetings between Scranton and Goucher have been decided by one goal and two of the last four games have been decided in overtime.

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