TOWSON, Md. — The same goalkeeper who gave Goucher fits in the finals of the 2014 Landmark Conference postseason tournament was at it again this afternoon in Gopher Stadium.
Jared Knowlton, who stopped 15 shots for Susquehanna when the Crusaders topped the Gophers, 9-6, in last year's battle for the Landmark title, turned in an 18-save performance today to lead his team to a 9-4 triumph over head coach Brian Kelly's squad.
The 417 fans in attendance didn't have to wait long for the first goal in today's contest. It took only seven seconds for Jake Purnell to win the opening faceoff for Susquehanna, race upfield and rip a shot that eluded goalie Karl Wiszumerski (Pottstown, Pa./The Hill School).
Knowlton even picked up an assist on a goal by Phil Lapone midway through the first quarter that put the Crusaders (9-3, 3-1 Landmark) ahead 3-0.
It wasn't until Goucher's 12th shot of the period, and until Knowlton had racked up seven saves, that the Gophers (7-4, 2-2 Landmark) dented the scoreboard for the first time with an unassisted goal by Conner Annunziato (West Chester, Pa./Bayerd Rustin) with 1:17 remaining.
An extra-man goal by Gavin Wilson (Charlestown, Pa./Great Valley) 6:49 into the second quarter trimmed Susquehanna's lead to 3-2, but two goals in the final 3:10 provided the Crusaders with a 5-2 advantage after 30 minutes.
Knowlton was at his best in the third quarter. Even though Goucher got off 12 shots compared to just six for Susquehanna, the senior goalkeeper defended his goal perfectly, making a total of eight saves. The Crusaders tacked on goals by Jake Calder and Nick Kifolo, boosting their lead to 7-2.
Jake Ziegler (Buffalo, N.Y./Nichols School) and Sam Morgan (Wilmot, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) tallied unassisted goals for the Gophers in the fourth quarter, but they were matched by the Crusaders in the form of extra-man goals by Calder and Nick Reardon.
Wiszumerski went the distance in goal for Goucher, making a total of 11 saves.
Elizabethtown, which would improve to 4-0 in the Landmark Conference with a win tomorrow over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, is up next on Goucher's schedule. The Gophers will tangle with the Blue Jays in Gopher Stadium on April 11, beginning at 1 p.m.