Sunday May 16 was a hell of a day to be a Stevens Tech Duck. Springfield took their last lead of the game with more than 10 minutes left in the 1st quarter, but the Ducks would take it from then on. Springfield got off to an early lead; with the score at 2-1 within the first 4 minutes of the game, there was little time to breath. After an up and down battle with some big hits and some great saves, Stevens tech tied it up with a dodge from Jay Wells as he rolled back to his left hand and fired a shot low to make it 2-2. The rest of the quarter was played at a fast run and gun pace, but neither team could find the back of the net and the quarter ended 2-2.
The second quarter was all Stevens as they took their first lead of the game. With 13:00 left on the clock Matt Kuppe drove from behind to his left hand and finished past Springfield’s Kyle Cloutier to make it 3-2 Stevens. Just a few minutes later the Ducks went up 4-2 after Brian Lalli ripped a right handed shot high and hard to give the ducks the two-goal advantage. Stevens was on fire after this and without the great play of Springfield’s Kyle Cloutier (15 saves) in goal, the score could have gotten out of hand.
The third quarter was a hard fought battle, but Stevens found the scoreboard first again as Brian Lalli found a cutting Rich Benson down the left side who finished low and away to make it 5-2. The Stevens offense was aided by a dominating performance in the faceoff circle, as it seemed like they couldn't lose a draw. Almost immediately after their fifth goal, the Stevens fans were once again on their feet, as the Ducks scored this time with Mark Bielicky catching a wide shot and finding Erik Reckdenwald open on the crease. 6-2 Ducks. It didn’t take long for Mark Bielicky to strike again for Stevens, as he beat the double team from behind and finished to make it 7-2. Matt Cannon, Stevens senior goalie (16 saves), was a brick wall through the entire 2nd and 3rd quarter until Springfield finally got back onto the board. Derek Pedrick took matters into his own hands and from the lefty wing roll dodged to his right hand and ripped it upper right to make it 7-3 Stevens. The quarter ended and it was obvious that Stevens could smell the Quarterfinals within their grasp.
The fourth was the last chance for the Springfield seniors to prove themselves and even though they played their hearts out, it would be Stevens that found the goal first. Brian Lalli took his man from the wing and scored unassisted to go up 8-3. With time winding down for Springfield’s season, they did everything they could to make a comeback. But the efforts of the Stevens defense and goalkeeping kept the Pride to only one more goal, as Adam Cost found Senior attackman Paul Purdy who finished in style one on one to make it 8-4. With the NCAA Quarter finals only a few minutes away, Stevens would hold on and win the game 8-4, putting them one step closer to a final four appearance.
Stevens has put themselves on the Map today, but can they compete with the big boys of DIII? We will find out next weekend as they face one of the top DIII programs in the country, Middlebury.
|Brian Lalli||(2, 1)|
|Erik Reckdenwald||(1, 1)|
|Matt Kuppe||(2, 0)|
|Mark Bielicky||(1, 1)|
|Rich Benson||(1, 0)|
|Jay Wells||(1, 0)|
|Matt Cannon||16 (0.800)|