Bombers Advance to E8 Final with Victory over Nazareth

ITHACA, N.Y. Second-seeded Ithaca (12-5) claimed its first Empire 8 tournament victory over third-seeded Nazareth (8-9) on Wednesday afternoon with a 15-11 semifinal win at Higgins Stadium.

The Bombers advance to the Empire 8 title game at top-seeded and ninth-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology to be played Saturday, May 5 at 1:00 p.m. The Bombers will vie for their third Empire 8 crown, while the Ducks seek their first.

Ithaca powered to a 7-1 lead in the first and went on to lead 9-3 at intermission. The Golden Flyers outscored the Bombers, 6-4, in the third to cut within 13-9 entering the final frame. Nazareth tallied the first two of the fourth stanza to make it a two-goal contest at 12:34, but Ithaca netted the game's final pair of scores to secure its trip to the championship game.

The Bombers last battled for a conference crown in 2010, falling short, 9-6, to RIT.

Freshman James Manilla (Fairport/Fairport) posted a game- and career-best six-point performance with two goals and a career-best four assists, while seniors Jay Lucas (Bedford Hills/Fox Lane) and Brian DiBetta (Katonah/John Jay) chipped in four points apiece. Lucas recorded a career-high four goals and DiBetta added two goals and two assists. Sophomore Pat Slawta (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) scored a hat trick.

Freshman Matt Greenblatt (North Potomac, Md./Thomas S. Wootton) won a contest-best six ground balls and 10 faceoffs, while DiBetta added four and four, respectively.

Senior Tom Mongelli (Kinnelon, N.J./Kinnelon) who scored once, had five ground balls and classmate Chris Duncan (Denver, Colo./Regis Jesuit) four. Juniors Adam Wacenske (Rochester/Gates-Chili) and Marc Roberts (Montrose/Hendrick Hudson) each forced two turnovers.

Senior Brendan Green (Pittsford/Pittsford Mendon) improved to 12-3 in cage having made eight stops.

The Bombers outshot Nazareth 44-33 and held a 41-34 advantage in ground balls, while the Golden Flyers claimed a 15-14 edge in faceoffs.


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