The Centennial Conference top's seeded Gettysburg Bullets survived a late run by the 4th seeded Haverford Black Squirrels. Haverford was looking for a repeat of their 6-5 upset over Gettysburg on March 18th. Zach Pucci and Ben Sufrin led the way offensively for Gettysburg with five point days, 3 goals and 2 assists each. Senior Max Tcheyan paced Haverford with two goals and three assists, while Shane Hafer added an assist with three goals.
The first game of the Centennial Conference playoff doubleheader didn’t disappoint. When these two teams met in March, it was the defenses that prevailed. Gettysburg’s defense is ranked 2nd in the country with a 4.7 goals allowed average, while Haverford is 16th with 6.9 allowed per game. Yet from the start this game was dominated by the offenses. Haverford managed to do what only one other team has done this season, and that is score 10 or more goals on Gettysburg, something that only top-ranked Salisbury accomplished.
The first half saw Gettysburg go on 2 three-goal runs with Haverford fighting to keep the pace. At the half, Gettysburg had an 8-6 lead. The strange part was that 2006 First Team All-American and 2-time Centennial Conference Player of the Year, Pat Vaughan, didn’t register a save. He faced 7 shots in the first half, 6 went in and 1 went wide for Haverford, not a bad shooting percentage. Compare that to Gettysburg’s 19 first half shots, with 5 saves by Centennial Conference 2nd-teamer Haverford goalie KC Peterson. While Vaughan would take away to make an impact, he was ready when his team needed him.
Gettysburg held a 10-7 lead heading into the 4th quarter and had done a nice job of limiting Haverford’s chances. Haverford’s possession time in the third quarter was somewhere around two minutes. Their one goal in the period came on a fastbreak where longpole Steve Selsor picked up a looseball following a long Gettysburg possession and found Tcheyan open that cut the lead to 9-7. Haverford struggled early in the 4th quarter to get possession, but when needed they started to get them. Shane Hafer put in his third goal of the game with 7:20 remaining to bring it to 10-8 and give Haverford life.
Less than a minute later, Brian Fleishacker found M. Thorne Fitzgerald to make it 10-9. Gettysburg answered with a solid possession and finally Ben Sufrin stretched the lead to two with 3:25 to play. From there, Haverford’s offense exploded to life, but was met head-on by Vaughan. Vaughan managed 1 save in the 3rd quarter, and then 5 in the 4th. All came on good opportunities for Haverford in the last three minutes. Haverford had a chance as time was dwindling down, but an overthrown pass careened to midfield where the longpole stepped offside giving Gettysburg the ball with less than 15 seconds to play.
On the day, Haverford took 23 shots, 17 were on goal and 12 were taken in the 4th quarter. Junior Dean Granoff had a chance to tie the game, but Vaughan made a huge save with his shaft as time was ticking away. Senior Jimmy Gates had a great game facing off for Gettysburg, winning 18 of 27 attempts and scooping up 13 groundballs. Haverford's senior class also had a good showing on the day as classmates Steve Selsor (7 gbs, 1a), Max Tcheyan (2g, 3a) and KC Peterson (10 saves), go out as Haverford's most successful class ever. They did it this season while playing without junior attackman Mike Distler who broke his collarbone, only playing in two Centennial games, but still managed to earn 2nd team All-Conference.
This match-up goes to show how much the dynamics of the Centennial Conference have changed in just a few short years. Both Haverford and Dickinson are now perennial conference contenders with Dickinson beating Washington this year and Haverford beating Gettysburg and falling just short to Washington in a four overtime classic.
The win sends host Gettysburg back to the Centennial Conference Final to take on Washington College for the 7th straight year. Gettysburg’s senior class looks to close out their career with a perfect 4-0 record in Centennial Conference Championship games on Sunday.
|Zach Pucci||(3, 2)|
|Ben Sufrin||(3, 2)|
|Joe Brody||(2, 2)|
|Greg Montgomery||(2, 0)|
|Kevin Freehill||(1, 1)|
|Trip Dyer||(1, 1)|
|Pat Vaughan||6 (0.353)|