Eastern vs. Misericordia
May 4, 2013
The Game Story:
ST. DAVIDS, Pa.--For one period, the game was exactly what the visiting Misericordia Cougars wanted it to be. Then it was not. Eastern University scored seven straight goals to start the second period en route to a 22-5 Freedom Conference Championship win. The top-seeded Eagles (15-2) scored all 22 of their goals in the first 48 minutes to run to their second consecutive Freedom title.

Eastern opened the scoring in the fourth minute on Grant Ferguson's first of five on the day off a pass from Chris Farrar. With the goal Ferguson became the first Eastern player to reach 50 goals in a season.

The Cougars (10-7) then were able to slow the pace of the game and grab a 2-1 lead on solo efforts from Peter Paccione and Matt Gonzalez. Misericordia goalie Patrick Johnson had a strong first period with seven saves, but the lead did not last as Farrar found Ferguson again for the game-tying goal with less than a minute to play in the period. The Eagles had an 11-5 edge in first-period shots.

Eastern had the first two shots of the second period before Matt Soldano started the Eastern run of goals with a strong dodge up the right alley. The senior midfielder worked his way all the way to the crease and freed his right hand with a final push before beating Johnson stick-side high.

Six seconds later, it was 4-2. AJ Ryan won the faceoff cleanly and found Farrar coming to the ball from behind the goal. Farrar cranked home his first of four on the day. Ryan won 20-of-25 faceoffs and finished with 18 groundballs to earn Championship Most Outstanding Player honors. He narrowly edged out Farrar for the honor. Earlier this week, Farrar was named Freedom Conference Player of the Year. He had four goals and six assists and was involved in six of the first eight Eastern goals.

The Eagles won the next faceoff and the Cougars were called for their second of 10 penalties. Twenty seconds into the 30-second opportunity, Farrar again found Ferguson for a 5-2 edge. Forty-five seconds later, Dez Decker scored from distance.

The Eagles then picked up an offsides penalty riding back, but the Cougars could not capitalize as Jordan Norris popped a ball free and scooped it up to regain possession. The Eastern man-down unit entered the week ranked near the top of the national rankings, and they did not hurt their numbers at all in either game. Misericordia did not score on any of their four extra-man opportunities this afternoon.

Out of the clear, Farrar found Shawn Farmer on the doorstep for a 7-2 lead. Ryan won the next faceoff and Farrar again found Farmer for an 8-2 edge. Zac Ivy scored four seconds after another Misericordia penalty expired to put the Eagles up 9-2.

The Cougars grabbed a little momentum back with a pair of faceoff wins and goals from Nick Santillo and J.R. Lauri. It seemed that the Cougars might grab even more momentum back when Shawn Farmer and Brendan Stouber both wound up in the box with one-minute penalties. Ryan Mitchell knocked down a pass and Mark Cyron pulled the ground ball free to set up a tremendous two-man down clear. Once in the Misericordia box, the Eagles pulled back to let the first penalty expire, and then Andy Jameson attacked the goal and found Farrar on the crease for a man-down goal and a 10-4 edge.

Eastern had another man-up chance after AJ Ryan won another faceoff and Ivy made it 11-4 with with his second of the day. His back-handed shot from 12 yards out slipped past Johnson's off-stick hip. Trevor Bodnar scored with 4:09 to go in the half, but Farrar had an answer with just 70 seconds to play. Farrar holds the Eastern career record for goals, assists and total points. He now has 99 goals and 98 assists.

Even down 12-5, the damage could have been worse as Johnson had 12 saves at the break. The Eagles won 13-of-19 first half faceoffs and out-shot the Cougars 21-4 in the period.

The numbers tilted even more in the third period.

Eastern scored eight times in the third frame. Ferguson scored his final two goals in the the first three minutes of the period. Eric Waibel then scored a man-up goal on a feed from Gillam. Ivy made the lead 16-5 with an around-the-world goal from Farrar. Ivy caught the ball right-handed on the left side of his body just above goal-line extended to the left of the goal. In one motion, the senior attack flung the ball around his body and between Johnson's legs. Ivy scored his fourth three minutes later on a feed from Will Johnson. One minute later, Farrar made it 18-5 after another faceoff win. Ron Johnson provided the service as Farrar picked up his 10th and final point on the day.

Soldano and Jameson scored the final two goals of the period. Eastern won all eight faceoffs in the period and had a 21-3 advantage in shots.

"We were pretty disappointed with the way we played up there," head coach Kevin Wallace said of the game, "so when they made it through against DeSales, I think our guys were looking to put on a better performance."

Eastern scored twice early in the fourth period before Misericordia closed out the scoring with less than two minutes to play.

Aaron Benz made seven saves in goal to pick up his 44th career win. Pat Groschan made two saves in the final nine minutes.

In the eight games against Freedom Conference competition this year, the Eagles have outscored their opposition 138-44. Misericordia had allowed more than 13 goals only one time this year.

Even with the conference championship, Eastern must wait to hear from the NCAA Selection Committee tomorrow evening. Because the Freedom Conference does not have an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles have to hope that their accomplishments are deemed worthy of a Pool B bid to the Tournament.

Eastern Athletics will host a selection show presentation in the gym tomorrow night. The event begins at 9 pm.