The Springfield Pride was able to survive a late Eastern Connecticut rally to hold on 11-9 and advance to face #1 seeded Gettysburg. The Pride won on the strength of a 5-1 second quarter.in which they totally dominated. As Eastern lonstick middie Pat Ammendola put it,"They were a lot faster than us, they wore us out on defense with long possessions. I wanted to win, but I'm really happy with the way we played." It was a very entertaining game for all to watch.
Springfield almost exclusively ran isolation plays on offense from begiining to end. Mostly operating out of a 1-4-1 they had success from the top. The speed of their middies was too much for most of the midfield defensemen with the exception of lonstick Ammendola. As effective as the Pride was at dodging they struggled finding the open men after slides came. Sensing this, Eastern coach Rick McCarthy didn't quite call for a zone, but a real tight man-to-man. The defense completely shut down Springfield in settled offense as their dodgers couldn't hit open men with slides coming earlier. Eastern on the other hand, worked the ball patiently and attackman Loic Williamson led the way in feeding a very active off-ball team. In the end speed prevailed hence the term, speed kills.
The Pride opened the scoring at the 13:27 mark when Jim Warnock split to his right and ran about twenty yards before getting within range to beat goalie Mark Hayes high along the left pipe, 1-0. Eastern took a penalty off the next face, but Springfield was unable to capitalize after a tough angle shot was deflected. Jeff Reinhart tied it up on a sweet behind the back shot. After curling from behind to his right he established position to goalie Jeremy Platt's right. He was backing in, but it was a stalemate so he popped it behind his back to gain more angle and hit the far right pipe about waist high, 1-1. Eastern took it to the goal for a long period of time with no result and then took a penalty when Springfield attempted to clear. The Pride cashed in with a man-up goal at 8:08. David Haddeland face-dodged a d-man from the low right handed crank spot to move in point blank for a score(you can't get face-dodged man-down, cardinal sin). Eastern came back with another prolonged attack due to Springfields inability to clear on several occasions. Finally, just inside the 3 minute mark they drew a penalty for a push to go extra-man. The Connecticut Warriors couldn't get the ball inside and Platt was saving all the long shots. Springfield continued to have trouble clearing and took another penalty with 50 seconds to go. This time on an in-bound from behind Kristopher McQuarrie fed Loic Williamson standing in the low right crank spot. Williamson caught the ball lefty to the outside and ripped an overhand bouncer through Platt's legs, 2-2.
The Warriors got the forst goal of the second quarter, but Springfield would rip off five unanswered after that as they owned the quarter. The Warriors came out firing, but Platt held the pipe on the first shot and the next one hit the pipe. At 11:11 Anthony Coletti was standing in the high right crank position as the ball was moving around the horn. He faked the pass across the top to give himself room as the d-man bought it and ripped a low shot that Platt would probably love to have back, 3-2. At 10:20 Jeff Zella put on a clinic for what speed and good foot work could do. He ran at the goal three times before stopping and curling the other way backing in not one, but two defensemen. When he got about ten yards away he turned and scored over one d-man's shoulder, 3-3. Zella struck again on a give and go with Bill Metzger. Zella passed to Metzger at "X" and quickly got it back as defense was adjusting and shot it low and away, 4-3. Springfield was controlling the ball incredibly well just taking runs from all different spots on the field. With a little over eight minutes to go the coaches were yelling to try one from the top after an in-bound play. Erik Refvic took his turn successfully an split to his left and on the run down the left side winged one that deflected off Hayes' left shoulder into the goal. Springfield started to really get into a groove. Everyone was high stepping and looking extremely smooth on offense. However, they still had difficulty with the clears going in-and-out on one particular play. Pide defenseman Brian Dalton was the culprit and when he threw the ball in disgust he was tagged for a delay of game.
The Warriors were unable to score on the man-up although they managed to hit a pipe. With 1:40 to go in the half Jim Warnock split to the right from the top and scored for Springfield to make it 6-3. Speed, speed, speed. Springfield was in total control at this point putting the Warriors on their heels. With time running out they worked the clock until Zella drove towards the restraining line from behind to his left. He hit Eric Refvik cutting directly towards him down the right side and the quick shot caught Hayes moving for a commanding 7-3 lead with 1 second on the clock.
Erik Refvik scooped the ball on the opening face of the second half and ran down to crank one off Hayes' head. If he wasn't awake yet that sure did the trick. Eastern came out as a new team though. They weren't playing zone, but they were cheating to the middle bigtime to help their teamates. It was absolutely fabulous defense to watch and it allowed Eastern to climb back into the game. Had they started with that mentality it may have been a different ball game. Marc DiGiovanni didn't get an assist for the Warrior's first goal, but set a perfect pick in the middle of the zone. Loic Williamson ran to his left and had his man tied up with the pick long enough to score from about nine yards away, 7-4. The Warriors inability to clear cost them a goal at 13:01. Hayes made a save on a long shot after great defense, but when he came out of the goal he waited to long to make the pass and wound up hand-cuffing his defender. The ball scooted to Metzger who threw the ball in the empty net for the opportunistic tally, 8-4. Off the next face the Warriors got off a pair of great shots, but Platt hung tough in net. At around the eleven minute mark there was some confusion with penalties, but Eastern Connecticut wound up with an advantage somewhere along the line. Williamson was working in the low lefty crank area when he was able to draw the crease defender out enough to hit Reinhart all alone in front. After a Reinhart dip'n'dunk the score was 8-5. Again, Eastern was completely shutting Springfield down in settled situations to climb back in this one. At 7:02 Williamson and Reinhart combined on almost the same play. Springfield jumped the gun on the slide as they came right in his line of view so he simply hit Reinhard who quicked one past Platt, 8-6. Eastern continued to put the pressure on with a very deliberate attack, but Springfield got a fast breat when they finally did clear the ball. It resulted in a Nick Myers cashed it in, 9-6. Platt came up big for the Pride again when Eastern had a fast break. Anticipating the pass to his right he got a head start and came way out so that as McQuarrie was turning to shoot he was already in his face forcing a high shot. With 2:08 left in the third DiGiovanni worked from "X" for the Warriors. He curled around to his left and got mugged, but was somehow able to hold onto the ball so he turned to the outside and fed McQuarrie on the delayed penalty. McQuarrie buried the shot as he was on the crease to Platt's left, 9-7. With 50 seconds to go Springfield regained the three goal edge. David Haddeland face-dodged two defenders on his way in from the high righty crank spot and then switched hands. His lefty shot was partially deflected, but it still beat Hayes high to the stick side, 10-7. The Warriors promptly called a stick check, but the officials passed Haddelands stick.
Eastern Connecticut put together a three minute stand on defense to open the fourth quarter. They refused to let the Pride dodgers get inside and it paid off when Williamson scored on their first possession to make it 10-8. The Pride had lost their edge by now. They were still running well, but they couldn't hit open guys as the Warriors were cheating to the ball. The Pride got a chance to open up their lead again on a Patrick Hennessey slash(a weak call as it was a make-up call for some previous hacking done by fellow defender). Springfield got off a long shot from the top that Hayes cleared to Kevin Ireland for the clear. At around the middle of the quarter the Warriors got into their flow on offense running through sets of plays very smoothly. The Pride goalie Platt was there again to bail his team out when they needed him. At 6:03 Springfield managed to clear the ball and took a time-out to give the defense a rest and talk about offense. This was followed by the best exchange of the night as lonstick defender Ammendola went step for step with the extremely fast Pride middie in Zella(whells on wheels). It was a draw in the end so Zella dished to a teamate. Marc DiGiovanni gave springfield a dose of their own medicine with a split dodge to his right. He beat his man an shot by a screen to catch the far low left corner, 10-9. Thw Warriors endured yet another long defensive stand before clearing to Dwayne Coles and getting a time-out with 2:50 left. The Warriors wound up getting an ill-advised longshot with plenty of time to go. The Pride turned it the other way and scored the goal in transition. Nick Myers was able to work hi way to the crease where he drew the goalie out and faked him and a defender before running to his right and hitting the empty net, 11-9.
|Jeff Zella||(2, 1)|
|Erik Refvik||(2, 1)|
|Jim Warnock||(2, 0)|
|Nick Myers||(2, 0)|
|Bill Metzger||(1, 1)|
|David Haddeland||(2, 0)|
|Jeremy Platt||17 (0.654)|