Bryant Tops Mount St. Mary's to Win NEC Championship

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. The first 10 minutes proved to be the difference maker in the 2012 Northeast Conference championship game, as second-seeded Bryant clinched its first Division I title with a 12-6 win over fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary's Sunday at Joe Walton Stadium.

Tournament MVP Jameson Love (Darien, Conn.) made five saves on the day and recorded 13 for the 2012 NEC Tournament. All-Tournament selection Colin Dunster (Cos Cob, Conn.) paced the championship game with four goals and had seven points in the two-game weekend, while fellow all-tournament team pick Kevin Massa (Huntington, N.Y.) went 16 of 22 from the faceoff X in Sunday's victory. With the victory, the Bulldogs (14-4) up their program-record win mark to 14 and claim the school's first-ever Northeast Conference Tournament Championship.

"It's an incredible feeling," said head coach Mike Pressler. "In just four years of Division I and two years in this new league, for us to go on the road and win this conference championship is just a remarkable tribute to our six seniors. I couldn't be happier for them and our entire team."

Bryant's final all-tournament team selection, sophomore Dan Sipperly (Greenwich, N.Y.) scored a first-quarter hat trick as the Bulldogs opened Sunday's NEC Championship Game on a six-goal run through the opening 10 minutes and took a 7-1 advantage into the second frame.

Senior midfielder Max Weisenberg (Long Beach, N.Y.) got the streak started at the 12:04 mark, taking the ball through the middle and beating his defender to the cage for an unassisted goal and 1-0 Bulldog edge.

After a Bulldog win on the ensuing faceoff, senior Matt Larson (Cheshire, Conn.) dished out a quick pass to Sipperly for a one timer just over four minutes into the contest. Sipperly made it back-to-back tallies less than six minutes later, this time taking a pass from linemate Peter McMahon (Wilton, Conn.) from behind the cage to find space beyond Mount St. Mary's goalie Chris Klaiber for a 3-0 edge.

"I said to Dan before the game, 'let the game come to you, and you could be the X-factor,'" said Pressler. "And he was. Dan got the ball, and he canned his shots."

Then, 45 seconds later, Dunster, the team's leading scorer, tucked a laser of a shot just inside the far post for his first unassisted score, giving the Bulldogs a four-goal cushion.

And on the following faceoff, when Mount faceoff specialist Jon Marsalese was flagged for an illegal touch and sent to the box for a locked-in one-minute penalty, the Bulldogs would complete the run, getting a pair of man-up goals 20 seconds apart first from Weisenberg and later from Dunster to secure a 6-0 advantage.

The Mount would finally break through at the 2:53 mark on a shot from NEC Second Teamer Brett Schmidt, but Bryant got it right back with eight ticks to go as Sipperly completed his first-frame hat trick on a rebound shot to close out the frame with a 7-1 lead.

"What an incredible start. I was very surprised we were able to jump out ahead like that," said Pressler. "It all started with Kevin Massa at the faceoff, and our attack responded. That was the key. They shot so much better than they did Friday night against Quinnipiac."

Senior attack Travis Harrington (Vestal, N.Y.) added to the Bulldogs' lead 90 seconds into the second session, netting an unassisted goal, and while the Mount would keep Bryant off the board for the next 10 minutes, Dunster would break through with a wind-up shot from the right side with 3:39 left before the halftime break for the second of three second-quarter unassisted tallies. Sophomore middie Bo Redpath (Norwich, Vt.) recorded the third with 73 seconds to play to take the Black and Gold into halftime with a 10-1 advantage.

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