Eastern Wins at DeSales to Grab Third Seed

CENTER VALLEY, Pa.- Eastern had a decent amount of uncertainty, headed into this afternoon's MAC regular season finale at DeSales. Depending on results around the league, they knew that they could finish as high as second or as low as the fourth seed. They did, however, know that they needed to win to have any chance of moving up in the seedings. The Eagles made sure with eight first quarter goals en route to a 16-2 win. That result combined with an FDU win at Lycoming and Messiah's home win over King's puts the Eagles alone in the third spot and hosting the Elizabethtown College Blue Jays on Monday afternoon at 4:00.

The Eagles (10-5, 9-2 MAC) won the opening face-off and Ron Johnson took advantage of the open field in transition for an unassisted tally only 17 seconds into the game. AJ Ryan won the next two face-offs as well, and Matt Wagner finished consecutive goals from Matt Soldano and Will Johnson to put the Eagles up 3-0 with barely three minutes gone.

Throughout the early part of the contest, the Bulldogs were committed to keeping attackmen Dave Darling and Chris Farrar from having chances. With this strategy in place, the Eastern midfield feasted. Led by Wagner's three first period tallies, the Eastern middies scored ten of the first eleven goals in the game on the way to an 11-0 lead. Will Johnson had a goal and two assists, and Shawn Farmer and Soldano each scored twice and Andy Jameson scored once in that run.

Farrar was the only starting Eastern attackman to tally on the day. He tucked home his 21st of the year in a man-up situation midway through the first period. Ryan won 67% of his face-off chances to give the Eagles a strong advantage in possession early on.

Up 11-1 at the half, the Eastern attack incorporated several players in keeping possession. Wagner scored the only tally of the period in another man-up situation late. Eastern scored four goals, including a pair on a 3:00 minute penalty in the fourth period, on man-up chances.

"We moved the ball really well today," said Head Coach Brandon Childs after the game,"I thought we did a lot of things right as we recognized what they were trying to do."

Farmer completed his hat trick early in the fourth period and JC Hofmeister and Tim Dempsey each scored their second goals of the year to build the Eastern lead to 15-1. Dan Hoffstetter picked up his first of the year to close out the scoring for the Eagles with 2:30 to play.

All four goalies saw time in the cage for the Eagles. Aaron Benz stopped five shots in the opening half to pick up the win. The Eagles have allowed four or fewer goals in eight of their league wins this season.

FDU-Florham, who won at Lycoming this afternoon, will host Lycoming in Monday's other quarterfinal. Widener and Messiah earned first round byes.


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