Eastern Routs Misericordia to Win Freedom Championship

ST. DAVIDS, Pa.-For one period, the game was exactly what the visiting Misericordia Cougars wanted it to be. Then it was not. Eastern scored seven straight to start the second period en route to a 22-5 Freedom Conference championship. The top-seeded Eagles (15-2) scored all 22 of their goals in the first 48 minutes to run to their second consecutive Freedom title.

Eastern opened the scoring in the 4th minute on Grant Ferguson's first of five on the day off a pass from Chris Farrar. With the goal Ferguson became the first Eastern player to reach fifty goals in a season.

The Cougars (10-7) then were able to slow the pace of the game and grab a 2-1 lead on solo efforts from Peter Paccione and Matt Gonzalez. Misericordia goalie Patrick Johnson had a strong first period with seven saves, but the lead did not last as Farrar found Ferguson again for the game-tying goal with less than a minute to play in the period. The Eagles had an 11-5 edge in first-period shots.

Eastern had the first two shots of the second period before Matt Soldano started the Eastern run of goals with a strong dodge up the right alley. The senior midfielder worked his way all the way to the creaseand freed his right hand with a final push before beating Johnson stick-side high.

Six seconds later, it was 4-2. AJ Ryan won the faceoff cleanly and found Farrar coming to the ball from behind the goal. Farrar cranked home his first of four on the day. Ryan won 20 of 25 faceoffs and finished with 18 groundballs to earn Championship Most Outstanding Player honors. He narrowly edged out Farrar for the honor. Earlier this week, Farrar was named Freedom Conference Player of the Year. He had four goals and six assists and was involved in six of the first eight Eastern goals.

The Eagles won the next faceoff and the Cougars were called for their second of ten penalties. Twenty seconds into the 30 second opportunity, Farrar again found Ferguson for a 5-2 edge. Forty-five secocnds later, Des Decker scored from distance.

The Eagles then picked up an offsides penalty riding back, but the Cougars could not capitalize as Jordan Norris popped a ball free and scooped it up to regain possession. The Eastern man-down unit entered the week ranked near the top of the national rankings, and they did not hurt their numbers at all in either game. Misericordia did not score on any of their four extra-man opportunities this afternoon.

Out of the clear, Farrar found Shawn Farmer on the doorstep for a 7-2 lead. Ryan won the next faceoff and Farrar again found Farmer for an 8-2 edge. Zac Ivy scored four seconds after anohter Misericordia penalty expired to put the Eagles up 9-2.

The Cougars grabbed a little momentum back with a pair of faceoff wins and goals from Nick Santillo and J.R. Lauri. It seemed that the Cougars might grab even more momentum back when Shewn Farmer and Brendan Stouber both wound up in the box with 1 minute penalties.

Ryan Mitchell knocked down a pass and Mark Cyron pulled the ground ball free to set up a tremendous two-man down clear. Once in the Misericordia box, the Eagles pulled back to let the first penalty expire, and then Andy Jameson attacked the goal and found Farrar on the crease for a man-down goal and a 10-4 edge.

Eastern had another man-up chance after AJ Ryan won another faceoff and Ivy made it 11-4 with with his second of the day. His back-handed shot from 12 yards out slipped past Johnson's off-stick hip. Trevor Bodnar scored with 4:09 to go in the half but Farrar had an answer with just 70 secconds to play. Farrar holds the Eastern career record for goals, assists and total points. He now has 99 goals and 98 assists.

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