No. 11 Bombers Upended by Stevens in E8 Action

ITHACA, N.Y. (April 26, 2014) Stevens ended the 2014 regular season with a 15-11 upset of No. 11 Ithaca in Empire 8 Conference play on Saturday at Higgins Stadium.

With the win, Stevens is now 8-7, 5-2, while Ithaca falls to 12-4, 6-1, heading into next Wednesday's Empire 8 semifinal contest at Ithaca on April 30 at 4:00 p.m.

The Ducks never trailed on Saturday and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter of the first 5:33 of play. Sophomore Colin Sawula (Northampton, Mass.) got things started just 35 seconds into the game with an unassisted score. Just 1:10 later, junior Paul Romens (Verona, Wis.) took a pass from sophomore DJ Bonifacic (Allendale, N.J.) off a clear in transition to put Stevens ahead, 2-0.

Senior Charlie Cronin (Northampton, Mass.) tallied a man-up score at the 9:27 mark off a pass from junior Michael Maroon (Virginia Beach, Va.) before Ithaca ended Stevens' string 1:02 later.

Ithaca pulled to within one goal at 3-2, after 1:02 burned off the clock, but the Ducks answered with 5:34 to go in the period on the eighth goal of the season from senior Sean Scrudato (Westfield, N.J.) which was assisted by Cronin.

The Bombers struck again with just over two minutes left in the frame, but Stevens would have the last say in the first with 26 seconds to go on the first of four goals scored by sophomore Andrew Scrutchfield (Lewes, Del.) off a pass from freshman Nick Hammell (Columbus, N.J.).

Stevens would outscore Ithaca, 5-2, in the second quarter to a take a 10-5 lead into halftime. After four minutes elapsed in the stanza, Scrutchfield found the back of the net on an unassisted tally, and he would score again, at the 9:51 mark before Cronin staked the Ducks to an 8-3 advantage with 8:19 to go.

Freshman Connor McKeon (Branchburg, N.J.) gave Stevens its largest lead of the half at 9-3 midway through the second on another unassisted goal. Ithaca would net two goals in a 20-second span to snap Stevens' scoring barrage to cut its deficit to 9-5 with just over two minutes left before intermission. Scrutchfield notched his hat trick after the ensuing faceoff for the final goal of the half.

The Bombers pulled to within three, 10-7, over the opening 5:17 of the third quarter. Five more minutes came off the clock before either team would score again as sophomore Tim Fair (West Deptford, N.J.) capitalized off a pass from junior JP Giroux (Ashburn, Va.).

Sophomore Anthony Raposo (Tewskbury, N.J.) put the Ducks back up by five goals at 12-7 just 34 seconds later and then Sawula recorded his second goal with 2:02 remaining. The Ducks would take a seven-goal cushion into the final period of play in the waning seconds of the third quarter on a marker from freshman Jake Gargiulo (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) which was assisted by Bonifacic.

Ithaca opened the fourth quarter with an unassisted goal nearly five minutes in, but Stevens responded with 8:48 left in regular on another goal from Raposo, assisted by Maroon, for its final goal of the game. With the Ducks leading, 15-8, the Bombers attempted a comeback with two goals in 10 seconds, but would go cold over the next 4:15 before they could score again. Ithaca's final goal came with 2:33 to go in the contest.

Despite being outshot, 53-43, Stevens earned a solid effort in goal from sophomore Austin Boyd (Bellevue, Wash.), who stopped a career-high 15 shots in the win.

Groundballs were nearly even, but Ithaca held a slight edge at 39-38. The Bombers also converted on 14 of 15 clears, while Stevens was successful on 15 of 23 tries. Ithaca also won 18 of 29 faceoffs in the game.

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