Royals Edge Gophers to Secure Landmark #2 Seed

TOWSON, Md.-University of Scranton entered Saturday's regular-season finale needing two scenarios to play out to capture the top seed in the Landmark Conference.

The Royals took care of the one thing they could control, posting an 8-7 victory over Goucher, but they end up as the number two seed after Susquehanna defeated Catholic in overtime to claim the top spot.

Scranton and the Crusaders each finished with identical 5-1 records, but Susquehanna wins the tiebreaker due to its 8-7 win over the Royals on April 17 in Selinsgrove.

For the Royals, it means another game against Goucher, this time at Fitzpatrick Field in Scranton just four days from now, with the winner meeting the winner of Susquehanna-Drew next Saturday for the title.

And if this series follow the same pattern-the last three meetings have been decided by a goal, including last year's match-up which was decided in overtime-Wednesday's game promises to be another dandy.

Today, sophomore Alec Mikrut (Belle Mead, NJ/Montgomery) scored two of his game-high three goals in the second half and senior Gus Sturm (Devon, Pa./Conestoga) added a pair as Scranton improved to 10-6 overall. The Royals also received a goal and an assist from senior Matt Tibbitts (West Hartford, Conn./Conard) and a goal apiece from junior Will Mahle (Montgomery, NJ/Montgomery) and freshman Ryan Mygatt (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan).

Goucher, now 6-7 overall and 4-2 in the conference, was led by junior Sam Morgan (Wilmot, NH/Kearsarge Regional) with two goals and three assists and sophomore Owen Demmerly (Medford, NJ/Shawnee) scored two goals and assisted on another.

The Royals never relinquished the lead after Mahle and Sturm scored back-to-back goal midway through the second period to give Scranton a 3-1 lead.

And every time that it seemed like momentum would swing in Goucher's favor, the Royals came up with a key play. Mygatt kept Scranton ahead by two by scoring an unassisted goal with eight seconds remaining in the third period moments after Gopher senior Pierce Ingram (Austin, Texas/Westwood) capped off a 2-0 run with a goal set up by Morgan.

Goucher sliced the lead to one again early in the fourth period on a goal by Demmerly before Mikrut answered with an unassisted goal with 4:55 left to keep the Royals up by two. Demmerly set the final score with a goal with 33 seconds remaining, but Scranton blocked a potential game-tying shot attempt and forced a turnover in the closing seconds to seal the victory.

Royal sophomore goalkeeper Nicholas McKaba (Long Valley, NJ/West Morris) made seven of his game-high 11 saves in the second half and junior Karl Wiszumerski (Pottstown, Pa./The Hill School) stopped nine shots for Goucher.


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