Jaspers Fall to Siena in Season Finale

RIVERDALE, N.Y. Playing in the final game of the season and the last in the careers of seven seniors, Manhattan dropped a 12-4 decision to MAAC opponent Siena on Saturday night at Gaelic Park. The loss finishes the Jaspers year at 5-9, 1-5 in MAAC play, while the Saints enter the conference tournament as the number one seed with an overall mark of 10-4 and a perfect 6-0 record in league play.

The first quarter was very much a "feeling out" process for both teams and a combined six shots were taken by the two squads. Siena scored the only goal of the period at the 6:45 mark when Bryan Neufeld found Danny Martinsen to open the scoring.

In the second frame, the pace and scoring both picked up. Manhattan tied the game just 2:39 into the period as Alex Grandal picked up a ground ball off a Siena shot and raced in the opposite direction. He then found senior Brendan Rogers who connected with Brian McGrath and placed a shot five-hole on Tom Morr for the equalizer. The Saints would respond with three unanswered goals with two coming from Neufeld to take a 4-1 lead into the halftime break.

Freshman goalkeeper Michael Wiatrak played the first half making two saves, before sophomore Rich Akapnitis took over in the second half for Manhattan.

Coming out of the locker room, Siena ramped up the offense and scored three more times to lead 7-1 before the Jaspers stopped the bleeding with a goal from Paul Moreau in front of the net. A slashing penalty from Mike Brooks put the Saints on the "extra-man" opportunity for the second time in the game and allowed Chris Roth to score a man-up goal giving his squad another six goal lead. Siena would add two more in the third and lead 10-2 going into the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, Siena notched two more goals to push their advantage to 10 and began to play keep away. As Manhattan fought for scoring chances, Taylor Bethea timed a pass perfectly for McGrath as he registered his second goal, and third point, of the game. The Jaspers would get another goal late in the fourth when senior Tyler Sabens fed Jon Crean who spun around and ripped a laser past newly inserted goalkeeper Nick Capalbo.

Statistically, the two teams possessed the ball rather evenly with Siena winning 11 of 20 face offs and each team forcing 16 turnovers. Meanwhile, the Saints were 17-18 on clear attempts as Manhattan was 16-18 in their tries. However, the Jaspers were outshot 35-23, including 23-15 in the second half, and picked up nine fewer ground balls (39-30).

Crean was 3-6 in his face off attempts while Brian Lenskold finished the day 6-14 for Manhattan. Casey Dowd won eight face offs for Siena while goalkeeper Tom Morr made 11 total saves in the win. Akapnitis made eight saves, allowing eight goals, in the second half for Manhattan.

The loss concludes the careers of seniors Brooks, Rogers, and Sabens along with Steve Harvey, Chris Spillane, Jordan Sherman, and Jonathan Bourne.

* * * *

Coming off a tough loss on Tuesday, Siena received just what it needed Saturday night to go into next weekend's MAAC Championships with some momentum. Danny Martinsen posted eight points as the Saints thwarted Manhattan 12-4 in Riverdale. With the win, the Saints completed their third undefeated MAAC regular season in the past four years and reached double digits in overall wins for the sixth straight year.

Siena (10-4, 6-0), which already locked up the MAAC Regular Season Championship last weekend, will enter the conference championships as the No. 1 overall seed. The Saints will take on tournament host and No. 4 seed Marist in the MAAC Semifinals Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Siena thumped the Red Foxes 20-8 last Saturday in Loudonville to clinch the regular season crown.

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