SJU wins the conference with a 14-13 defeat of LIU Sharks. The St.Joseph’s Hawks (7-3, 7-0 NEC) took on the LIU Sharks (6-3, 3-2 NEC) in a Saturday afternoon tilt.
Matt Tufano (2g,1a) with just :38 elapsed gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Sean Voelkel (1g) converting a Tufano feed just :12 later boosted St.Joe’s to an early 2-0 lead. Jake Gillis (6g) and Dylan Villari (1g) made it even at 2-2 with 7:21 to play.
St.Joe’s had an answer when Mac McLaughlin (1g) converted a Shayne Fable pass. Sean Boll (1g) answered to close the first at 3-3.
Matt Bohmer (3g,1a) hit rope at 14:54 with Gillis hitting a pair fifty-seven seconds apart to put the Sharks in front. The score was 5-4.
Tucker Brown (1g) evened the score :42 later. Boll hitting for his 12th and Blake Behren (1g,4a) with 7:42 remaining boosted the Sharks to a 7-5 advantage.
Bohmer set up Teo Domic (1g) that would lead to the end of the first half with a 7-6 LIU lead. The Hawks were poised to swoop and would do just that with Shayne Fable (2g,2a), Matt Bohmer (3g,1a), and Matt Popeck (2g) with a pair with the goals coming just 4:25 apart, and the Owls had a three-goal lead at 10-7.
Gillis hit for his 22nd and 23rd. Bohmer put home an Adam Ritter (1a) sweet feed to close the third at 11-9 Hawks. Tufano on the man up just :14 in followed by Fable assisting on a Ryan Doran (1g,2a) tally gave the Hawks a 13-9 lead with 12:27 to play.
The Sharks were circling. Richie Lacalandra (1g, 3a), James Butler (1g), and Marvin Maleski (1g) with 6:05 got the crowd in a frenzy with the 13-12 Hawks lead that seemed in danger. Fear not as Fable hit rope to get it a bit more comfortable at 14-12. The Sharks were not backing down from the snout punch and Gillis bagged his 24th with 3:18 remaining. SJU wins the conference.
In the End
LIU had a final chance to get it knotted up. Tyler Nakar knocked the loose from Gillis with :44 left to give the Hawks the NEC Championship. It marks the fifth Conference Championship with the others coming in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, and now 2021.
Zach Cole continues to state his case for the Teewaaraton with his 8 ground balls and going 22 of 29 from the “X”.