Salisbury, MD – The Salisbury Sea Gulls used a five goal third quarter to pull away from the Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops for a 14-10 win. In a sloppy game that saw a combined 23 minutes of penalty time, the top-ranked Sean Gulls overcame a strong effort by OWU. Junior Kylor Berkman led the offensive effort for Salisbury with five points (2a, 3g). with three-point contributions from Greg Titus, Pat Bonanno and Matt Hickman. Ohio Wesleyan senior goalie Ryan Perone was huge in the net with 18 saves in the losing effort. Senior midfielder Chris Eccles notched four points (3g, 1a) for OWU.
The Salisbury Sea Gulls jumped out to a 2-0 lead and continued to look like they were going to pull away, but the Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops kept fighting to keep themselves in the game. A man-up goal with just 4:07 left in the first half put OWU within one at 5-4. Salisbury would stretch the halftime lead to 6-4 and again scored quickly to start the third, but OWU brought it back to 7-5 just :15 later. A two-minute stretch would prove to be all Salisbury would need. Three unassisted goals and great efforts by Berkman at 8:27, Hickman at 7:36, and Bonanno at 6:48 gave Salisbury the 10-5 lead. Then off the next faceoff, Ryan Finch won it forward to himself and fed Jake DeLillo who notched what would prove to be the game winner just 6 seconds after the whistle.
The 11-5 lead wouldn’t last long as OWU’s Chris Eccles put an unassisted goal in with 2:28 left in the third. In the final minute of the third, OWU was awarded another man-up. As the clock was dwindling there were calls from the sideline to hold the ball so that they could keep possession to start the fourth quarter. Instead Steve Fowler banged the ball inside to senior Trevor Jones who had popped open. Jones put the quick-stick in just before the whistle to send the game into the fourth, 11-7 in favor of Salisbury.
Two more Salisbury goals would put the game out of reach, but it didn’t stop OWU from trying. 2007 third team All-American Chris Eccles notched two straight goals on solid individual efforts, one to his right and one to his left. Coming into the season, Eccles was touted as one of the top returning midfielders and would be the focal point of the OWU offense. Much of OWU’s success would sit on Eccles’ shoulders. They played like that today as on numerous occasions Eccles dodged and redodged trying to force his way through, at times, the entire Salisbury defense. The reigning top midfielder in the country is Salisbury’s Kylor Berkman who had a better day than Eccles’ with two assists and three goals. Berkman is a quicker ball-movement type of player. He’s listed at 5’10, 175 lbs, but plays a quicker style. Eccles, 5’10”-185, appears to be more of a dodge to go to the goal type player, though he was a very balanced 30g-30a last year. He used more strength to get his hands free as opposed to shiftiness. Despite the differences in styles of play, it would be interesting to see what would happen if Eccles had the supporting cast Berkman has at Salisbury. Both clearly have the ability to play both sides of the field if need be. Eccles seemed to be on the field the majority of time for OWU, while Berkman is often all over the field for SU.
Salisbury continued their domination in the faceoff department. Today Ryan Brown won 11 of his 15 attempts while Ryan Finch won 8 out of his 10 attempts. The 19-of-25 day allowed Salisbury to run out the clock and keep possession for most of the second half. The Salisbury longpoles also had a solid day as Ryan Browning contributed with four caused turnovers and five gbs, Ben Sandlin caused four turnovers with four gbs, while Connor Burgasser had eight gbs.
Salisbury managed just three goals out of 15 opportunities with an extra-man. They were able to generate some quality looks, but a couple of poorly placed shots with some great saves by OWU’s Ryan Peron and their 50% season success rate dropped.
Both teams spent a significant amount of time playing either with an extra-man or man-down as OWU received 15 penalties for 12:30, while Salisbury had 13 penalties for 10:30. Overall there were six “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” calls. Kylor Berkman received one late in the third quarter for language after he received a minute slashing penalty, which he didn’t agree with. A few minutes into the fourth, OWU longpole Grant Ditty received an unsportsmanlike call after he slid and knocked Berkman over when he shooting. The call was that as they were coming up, Ditty followed up with a knee to Berkman. Salisbury attackman Matt Hickman and OWU defenseman Matt Frizzo had a little tiff going throughout the game. As these things go, it’s hard to tell where it started, but both were looking for cheap shots and milking it to get the ref’s call. It escalated with 6:42 left in the third quarter. Both had been warned several times as Frizzo would keep his stick on Hickman and Hickman would run into Frizzo trying to get a call. Awaiting the faceoff, it appeared a flag was initially thrown for a slash by Frizzo, which was followed up by an apparent butt end by Hickman to Frizzo’s midsection. This led to both receiving penalties.
For OWU, the loss should give them some confidence as it was a better all-around performance than their 13-5 loss to Lyncburg. Despite their 2-for-13 man-ups, 6-for-25 faceoffs, and 32 turnovers, they still had a chance against the best team in the country. If they can improve on those areas, along with solid performances by Perone in goal, maintain their ability to clear (32-of-36 today), Wednesday’s match-up against Gettysburg will be interesting.
For Salisbury, today’s win seemed to be a bit of a lackluster effort for the Sea Gulls, at least offensively speaking. They have intriguing match-ups coming up, starting with Denison on the 16th, St. Lawrence on the 20th and then Gettysburg on the 29th. A one-goal win over Lynchburg and a four goal win over OWU might have some teams thinking that Salisbury might just be human this year…the key word being might.
|Kylor Berkman||(2, 3)|
|Matt Hickman||(2, 1)|
|Patrick Bonanno||(2, 1)|
|Greg Titus||(3, 0)|
|Bruce Richardson||(1, 1)|
|Ryan Finch||(0, 1)|
|Mike Von Kamecke||(1, 0)|
|Will Poletis||(1, 0)|
|Stephen Krasco||(1, 0)|
|Jake Delillo||(1, 0)|
|Riley Clark||10 (0.500)|