TOWSON, Md. — It was a game in which Goucher never led and was down by as many as three goals at one point in the third quarter, but when Owen Demmerly (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) scored for the second time in the fourth period this afternoon, head coach Brian Kelly's squad trailed Scranton by only a goal and still had 33 seconds to try to make up the difference.
Things looked promising when Tristan Morris (Houston, Texas/Houston Christian) controlled the ensuing faceoff, which led to a potential game-tying shot by Dylan Zook (Purcellville, Va./Loudoun Valley). Zook's attempt, however, was blocked before it reached the cage.
Even though the Royals were unable to kill off the remaining time on clock and turned the ball over before it expired, they did manage to prevent the Gophers from getting off any more shots and the game between two of the teams that had already clinched berths in the Landmark Conference's upcoming postseason tournament ended 8-7 in Scranton's favor.
The one-goal loss prevented Goucher from being the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Instead, the Gophers are the No. 3 seed and they are headed for a rematch with second-seeded Scranton in the semifinals on April 30.
The two teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after 15 minutes today as Alec Mikrut tallied an unassisted goal for Scranton at 13:05 and Michael Morgan (Austin, Texas/Westwood) provided Goucher's response at 5:42.
Gus Sturm's second goal of the second quarter put the Royals (10-6, 5-1 Landmark) up 4-2 with 1:04 remaining before halftime, but with :29 showing on the clock, Demmerly set up a goal by Sam Morgan (Wilmot, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) that had the two teams separated by just one at the break.
The Gophers (6-7, 4-2 Landmark) fell behind 6-3 in the third quarter before Zook tallied his 20th goal of the season at 4:26 and Pierce Ingram (Austin, Texas/Westwood) stuck his 15th at 1:14, but Scranton regained a two-goal lead on an unassisted goal by Ryan Mygatt with just eight seconds remaining in the period.
The fourth quarter was less than two minutes old when Demmerly got off only his second shot of the contest and scored his 17th goal of the season, reducing Goucher's deficit to 7-6. Scranton had one possession midway through the period on which it took seven shots, four of which were wide, one was high, one hit the post and one was stopped by goalie Karl Wiszumerski (Pottstown, Pa./The Hill School). In fact, the score didn't change again until an unassisted goal by Mikrut with 4:55 left to play put the Royals ahead 8-6.
The Gophers came up empty on a pair of one-shot possessions following Mikrut's goal before Demmerly made it a one-goal game in the final minute of play.
The Royals finished with a 41-35 advantage in shots and a smaller edge in ground balls, 29-25. Morris, who handled every faceoff for the Gophers, winning nine of the 19 he attempted, led the team in claiming loose balls (7).
The two saves Wiszumerski made in the fourth quarter were his eighth and ninth of the contest, while his counterpart in goal, Nicholas McKaba, stopped a total of 11 shots, seven of them in the second half.