|VESTAL, N.Y.--Leading scorer Matt McNamara (Oswego, N.Y.) scored had three goals and the Bearcats (8-5) built a 6-0 lead on the way to an 8-2 victory over Drexel (4-9) on Wednesday afternoon at the East Gym Complex. In their final home game of the regular season, Binghamton clinched the first winning season in the program's three-year history. The Bearcats close out the regular season on Saturday at Albany, but return home next Wednesday to host an America East semifinal game.
Binghamton's win was the second straight in which the opponent had more shots, ground balls and faceoffs. The outcome of the game was never in doubt, however, as the Bearcats scored their first goal midway through the first quarter and added three more in the second stanza for a 4-0 lead at the half. Sophomore attack Joe Vavala (Dewey Beach, Del./Cape Henlopen) found the net with 2:25 left in the first half and classmate Phil Cavallo (Cedarhurst, N.Y./Lawrence) did the same with just nine seconds showing. McNamara added two of his three tallies in the third quarter before the teams traded a pair of goals in the final frame.
Drexel got on the board on a man-up goal by sophomore attack Matt Musci at the 8:31 mark of the fourth quarter. Musci added another goal just 44 seconds later, but could get no closer. Freshman attack Nate Kerstein (Rochester, N.Y./Irondequoit) scored back-to-back goals in a span of 1:21 to close out the scoring and put the game out of reach in the final minutes. Cavallo assisted on both of Kerstein's goals.
The Dragons outshot their hosts 21-19 for the game, including a 13-6 edge in the second half. However, sophomore goalie Kevin McKeown (Brewster, N.Y.) made four of his eight saves in the final 15 minutes to preserve the win.
Freshman midfielder Jeff Santucci (Cicero, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse) scored Binghamton's other goal, while sophomore midfielders Joe Conner (Ijamsville, Md./Urbana) and Matt DeCirce (Binghamton, N.Y.) each had one assist.
The Bearcats visit Albany at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the final game on the America East schedule. The winner of the game will carry the #1 seed into next week's conference tournament. Even with a loss, Binghamton is guaranteed no lower than a #2 seed. The Bearcats enter the game with a 5-0 conference mark, while Albany is 4-1. Binghamton will host an America East semifinal game next Wednesday, May 5, at 4 p.m.