Pilgrims fall in ECAC East Semifinals, UMass-Boston to meet Babson in final
The #8 seeded UMass-Boston Beacons pulled their second upset of the 2009 ECAC East Playoffs edging the # 4 seeded New England College Pilgrims 5-4 in ECAC East Semifinal action Friday evening in Henniker. With the win the Beacons improve to 10-15-2 and earn a trip to the ECAC East Finals to be held Saturday in Henniker. The loss drops the Pilgrims to 15-10-2 on the season.
The Pilgrims would control much of the offense early in the game as NEC would hold the 10-3 advantage in shots but it would be the Beacons who would strike first as Eric Tufman (Abington, Pa.) would rebound in his own shot at the 14:43 mark in the first. The Pilgrims would respond quickly as Simon Laudon-Sorlin (Stockholm, Sweden) would put in a pass from Mark Ehl (N. Vancouver, B.C.) knotting the game at 1-1 with just under four minutes remaining in the period.
The Beacons would break the tie early in the second period as Kris Kranzky (Glendora, Calif.) would take advantage of a UMass-Boston power-play opportunity just 2:24 into the period. The Beacons would go on to score two unanswered goals in the second, including a tip-in from Andrew Burke (Southampton, Mass.) at the 12:21 mark and a score by Vinnie Jacona (Stroudsburg, Pa) at the 17:10 mark.
UMass-Boston would pick up where they left off in the second extending their lead to 5-1 as Tufman would net his second goal of the game assisted by Nick Novak (Green Bay, Wis.) and Kranzky at the 5:02 mark in the third. NEC would claw their way back as Olli Kalliosarri (Hattula, Finland) would score his team-high twelfth goal of the season just two minutes later and Mark Ehl would net a power-play at the 17:02 mark cutting the UMass-Boston lead to 5-3. NEC would continue to battle as Jarkko Leppanen (Tampere, Finland) would push in a loose puck with just 24 seconds remaining in regulation but that is as close as the Pilgrims would get as the Beacons would hold on for the 5-4 victory.
Picking up the win in goal for UMass-Boston was Ryan Donovan (Rexford, N.Y.) who finished with 30 saves in net. In goal for NEC was Aaron Harvey (Milford, Nova Scotia) who stopped 19 shots.
UMass-Boston will take on the seventh seeded Babson College Beavers in the ECAC East Championship at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 7 in Henniker.