MSM Claims Final NEC Berth with Victory at Wagner

Staten Island, NY Wagner scored the final goal of the first half and the first goal following halftime to draw to within 7-3, but Mount St. Mary's countered with a 7-1 run in building a 14-4 lead en route to posting a 16-7 Northeast Conference (NEC) win.

With the victory, the Mountaineers claim the fourth and final spot in next weekend's NEC Tournament, joining Bryant, Robert Morris and Quinnipiac in the four-team affair. Had Wagner won today, the Seahawks would have been headed to the NEC Tourney.

Instead, Wagner finishes the season with a 1-13 mark, 1-4 in the NEC. Despite their final season mark, the Seahawks were a much-improved club under first-year head coach Matt Poskay, putting a scare into several teams during the season, dropping four games by four goals or less - vs. Rutgers (9-5), Saint Joseph's (9-5), at VMI (12-11, OT), and at Mercer (14-11).

The Seahawks, however, found themselves on their heels early in this one as the Mountaineers seized an early 4-0 lead, with two goals coming from Brett Schmidt. Wagner broke the ice with 6:31 left in the opening quarter as senior attackman Mike Hurley (Billerica, MA/ Billerica) fired home a fast-break goal on the dead run after receiving a pretty feed from freshman defenseman Matt Bunting (Wyckoff, NJ/ Ramapo) to make it 4-1.

The Mount followed with a three-goal splurge in building a 7-1 advantage before junior midfielder Nick DePhillips (Glen Ridge, NJ/ Glen Ridge), with 35 seconds left in the second quarter, buried an unassisted goal to make it 7-2 at halftime. Junior attacker Sam Morrissey (Long Valley, NJ/ West Morris Central) inched Wagner to within 7-3 on a tremendous individual effort, scoring on a gorgeous wrap-around goal with 11:03 left in the third quarter. It was at this point that the Mount embarked on the pivotal 7-1 scoring binge which ballooned the lead to 14-4 with 9:52 left and the Mountaineers never looked back.

The Schmidt brothers were at the forefront of the Mount's arsenal, with Brett Schmidt scoring three goals and three assists while Bryant Schmidt also managed a hat trick in addition to one assist. Anthony Golden was the third Mountaineer to record a hat trick on the afternoon. Andrew Scalley and Christian Kellett finished with two goals apiece.

Wagner was led by two goals each by DePhillips and Morrissey, with DePhillips adding an assist to give him a team-high three points on the day. Junior midfielder Colin O'Rourke (Worcester, MA/ St. John's Shrewsbury) uncorked a bullet straight-on goal from 20 yards out after receiving a pass from DePhillips for his lone goal of the game that made it 9-4 with 11:25 to go. This would prove to be Wagner's only tally, however, during the Mount's decisive 7-1 run.

Also scoring single goals for the Seahawks were Hedges and Hurley. Others who notched points on the afternoon for Wagner with one assist apiece were Bunting, DePhillips and senior midfielder Cory Perkins (Chatsworth, CA/ Chaminade Prep).

The Mount held a 50-24 edge in shots, led in ground balls 31-13, while winning 19 of 27 faceoffs. Sophomore Nicholas Gibaldi (Rocky Point, NY/ Rocky Point) had 11 saves in goal for the Seahawks during the game's first 51:37 before giving way to senior Peter Rubin (East Rockaway, NY/ East Rockaway) who made one save in the final 8:23 of the contest. Chris Klaiber got the win in goal for the Mount, recording six saves during his 52:05 stint. Kevin Hess came on to play the final 7:55 and was not credited with any saves while allowing one goal.

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