No. 3 Loyola Withstands Furious Denver Rally, Wins in OT

DENVER – Despite a seven-goal run from Denver to end regulation, the Pioneers were unable to finish off top-seeded Loyola, falling 14-13 in overtime in the first semifinal game of the ECAC tournament at Peter Barton Stadium on Wednesday in front of a crowd of 1,140 fans.

“Obviously, we are very disappointed in the outcome of this game,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “Although we dug ourselves a hole with a lackluster effort in the first three quarters, credit has to be given to Loyola for taking advantage of our mistakes. I am equally as proud of our team however, for never quitting and staging a remarkable comeback in the fourth quarter. Losing five one-goal games, with four in overtime can take its toll, but I am confident that our young men will respond with great dignity and effort, should we be given the deserved opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.”

The Crimson and Gold (8-6, 3-3 ECAC) trailed for the entire contest before knotting the score at 13-13 following a 7-0 run beginning at the 12:18 mark in the fourth quarter. Junior Eric Law (Centennial, Colo.) started things off with a man-up goal, while sophomore Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) followed with an unassisted goal of his own to cut the Loyola lead to 13-8 with 11:19 remaining in regulation.

After Loyola (13-1, 6-0 ECAC) killed Denver's man-up opportunity with less than 10 minutes left, Law found the goal for his second score of the quarter with 6:32 left in the fourth. A pair of goals from senior Alex Demopoulos (Canton, Conn.) and unassisted scores from both Noble and junior Cameron Flint (Georgetown, Ontario) resulted in the game's first tie at the 3:30 mark in the fourth quarter. DU defended Loyola to perfection for the remaining three minutes, ending regulation with a 13-13 tie heading into extra period.

Loyola's Scott Ratliff ended the game just eight seconds into overtime, capitalizing on the opening face-off and scoring to record the victory for the Greyhounds.

Noble and Demopoulos led the Pioneers, recording four points each, while senior Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ontario) and Law posted three-point performances. Noble led the Pioneers with three goals and an assist, while Law also tallied three goals. Matthews and Demopoulos recorded two goals apiece, while Flint, junior Chase Carraro (Louisville, Ky.) and freshman Wes Berg (Coquitlam, British Columbia) each tallied one goal.

Demopoulos extended his consecutive points-scored streak to 49 games, leading the Pioneers in assists with two. Matthews, Noble, Carraro and Berg each recorded one assist. Freshman goalie Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) dropped to 4-4 despite tallying 12 saves, four short of his career-high. The Crimson and Gold won 17 of 31 face-offs and converted on 2 of 4 man-up opportunities.

The Pioneers now await a potential at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament that begins on Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13. The selection show will be broadcast live at 7:00 p.m. MT on ESPNU and The winner of the ECAC Tournament received the automatic bid to the tournament.

* * * *

DENVER – Scott Ratliff picked up the ground ball off the opening faceoff in overtime, raced down the right side of the middle of the box and sent a high-to-low shot past University of Denver goalkeeper Ryan LaPlante to lift the third-ranked Greyhounds to a 14-13 win in the ECAC Semifinals on Wednesday night.

Loyola (13-1 overall) will play third-seeded FairfieldUniversity on Friday, May 4, in the ECAC Championship Game at 4:00 p.m. (Mountain) in a contest that will be televised live on ESPNU. The Stags (12-3), who are ranked 16th nationally, defeated second-seed Ohio State University, 8-7, in Wednesday's other semifinal.

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