The stage is set, players are in place. The Bryant Bulldogs (8-3) will advance to the NEC Championship Game by virtue of a 14-12 victory over the Hobart Statesmen (6-3). As much as the Bulldogs tried to pull away in this one Hobart would not allow it.
Marc O’Rourke (4g) gave Bryant the early lead at the 11.46 mark.
Bennett Abladian (5G) doubled the score at 6:54. Hobart countered courtesy of Tommy Mott (2g,2a) at 1:31, and with just :20 on the clock, Anthony Dattellas (2g,1a) knotted it up. O’Rourke hit a buzzer-beater when he collected his 14th with only :01 to play. That ended the quarter with a 3-2 Bulldogs lead.
O’Rourke with a pair at 10:08 and 2:22 gave him four goals in the half and turned the scoreboard to a 5-2 Bryant advantage.
Jack Grooms (1g) got the only other goal in the quarter and to halftime, they would go with a 5-3 game.
The second half opened wide with a combined 18 goals. At 13:25 Abladian converted a Trevor Weingarten (1a) on the EMO, Aidan Goltz (3g) and Kevin Groenimger (1g) made it 8-3 Bryant with 4:10 in the third. Hobart fired back when Ryan Archer (1g,1a) at 3:55 followed twenty seconds later by Ethan Black-Fernandez (1g), Mott (13th) at 2:59, and Dattellias with 1:43 to play and we were looking at a one-goal game, 8-7.
Just when everyone caught their breath, Mike Kearney (1g) with :15 on the clock ended the third at 9-7. The final stanza became the Bennett Abladian and Derreck Madonna show. Mott set up Madonna (4g,1a) to kick things off at 14:11 to get it back to a one-goal difference.
At 11:35 it was Abladian’s turn. Madonna fired back and the show was on. The duo exchanged seven goals with a total of with Madonna holding the upper hand with four. Aidan Goltz ended the party with his 12th at 5:19 to make it 13-11. Brian Mitrow (1g) got it to within one but after Bryant ran a minute off the clock, Goltz ended the 14-12 game.
By the Numbers
The Bulldogs will travel to Philadelphia to face the challenge of the St. Joseph’s Hawks for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Despite the outcome, Hobart had the advantage in every statistical category with shots being 59-36, on goal, 29-22, Turnovers 15-19, ground balls, 38-28, and face-offs 16-13. The stage is set, players are in place.