Cardinals Fall in the ECAC Semifinals to Storm

ERIE, Penn. Despite a valiant defensive effort, Wheeling Jesuit fell to the Lake Erie Storm in the ECAC conference semifinal 7-9 on a blustery spring day at Mercyhurst University.

The loss wraps up arguably the best season in program history for the Cardinals, with a 10-3 record and a best-ever .769 winning percentage under first-year head coach Kevin Dugan.

With a halftime score of 2-4, this semifinal was a low scoring game that no one expected between the two teams in the conference with the highest goals per game average.

"Both defenses rose to the occasion, and we had an absolute battle out on the field for every single ground ball, for every single possession," said WJU head coach Kevin Dugan "At the end of the day they made more plays than we did, and were a little opportunistic in transition, but we as coaches can't walk off the field disappointed with the effort of our team today."

Senior Goalkeeper Joe Amsler was once again outstanding is his final game in Cardinal red, collecting 12 saves using every part of his body to deflect some high powered Lake Erie shots.

Offensively, the Cardinals received some evenly spread production, with no one player collecting more than a pair of goals. Leading WJU was Tyler Buchan who scored twice on six shots, and ECAC first-team all-conference player Bryce Brochu also scored twice on four shots, and also gave an assist. Also getting in the scoring column for WJU were seniors Brian Frank and Tyler Johnson, and Duston Doudelet who each added a single.

The Cardinals looked to open the scoring in fine fashion when Tyler Wicket had a beautiful behind-the-back flick goal disallowed in the after 8 minutes of play for a crease infringement. With that shot, it looked as though goals would be free flowing, but the staunch defense from both sides put a strangle hold on the points flow.

The Storm scored four goals in the first half, proving to be the difference maker, with both teams tying the third and fourth quarters.

With the loss, the Cardinals now say goodbye to a senior class loaded with leaders both on and off the field.

"It's so hard to say goodbye to the senior class," added coach Dugan. "This group has really built the program to where it is, and to say goodbye to them is a really difficult thing. For them to walk off the field this last game with a hard fought loss like this is not an easy thing for them to swallow, but I want them to keep their heads held high."


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