Pair of Man-Up Goals Spoil Ending for Gophers

Pair of Man-Up Goals Spoil Ending for Gophers

TOWSON, Md. — Goucher successfully killed off three of the four time-served penalties that it was assessed during the first three periods of this afternoon's  game against Elizabethtown in Gopher Stadium, which was witnessed by 378 enthusiastic fans.

But in the fourth quarter, the Blue Jays cashed in on a pair of extra-man opportunies as they tallied the final three goals of the contest to pull out an 8-7 victory over the Gophers and remain unbeaten in the Landmark Conference.

The Gophers (7-5, 2-3 Landmark) owned a 6-5 lead heading into the final period and less than three minutes in they went ahead by two for the first time on an unassisted goal by Owen Demmerly (Medford, N.J./Shawnee). The score remained 7-5 in favor of the home team for nearly five minutes before Jason Clough scored for the Blue Jays (12-2, 5-0 Landmark) to make it a one-goal game again.

Goucher was whistled for a cross-checking penalty on Elizabethtown's next possession and while the Gophers were a man down, the Blue Jays tied the score at 7-7 on Russ LeClair's 30th goal of the season.

Elizabethtown won the ensuing faceoff, but failed to get a shot off despite possessing the ball for well over a minute. Goucher gained possession following a turnover and drained more than a minute off the clock before being hit with a 30-second clock warning with 46 seconds remaining. Before getting off a shot or the shot clock running out, the Gophers turned the ball back over to the Blue Jays.

As Elizabethtown was clearing the ball, a Goucher player committed a tripping penalty. Just 13 seconds into the extra-man opportunity, Jimmy Waters took a pass from Mike Specht and fired it in the net to put his team back in front with only :15 showing on the clock.

The Gophers were awarded possession because of a violation committed by their opponent on the ensuing facoeff, but they were unable to get a shot off before time expired.

This marks the first time since the formation of the Landmark Conference in 2007-08 that Goucher, which bowed to Susquehanna, 9-4, on April 3, has lost back-to-back conference games in the same season.

A man-up goal by Gavin Wilson (Charlestown, Pa./Great Valley) and an unassisted goal by Conner Annunziato (West Chester, Pa./Bayerd Rustin) allowed the Gophers to overcome an early 2-0 deficit and end the opening period tied with the Blue Jays at 2-2.

Goucher didn't go ahead for the first time until a goal by Sam Morgan (Wilmot, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) with 4:15 remaining in the first half snapped a 3-all deadlock.

A man-up goal by Will Brennan (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva) broke a 5-5 tie with 2:59 left to play in the third quarter.

Most of the statistics suggested a close game: shots were 37-30 in Elizabethtown's favor; ground balls were 32-31, advantage Goucher. Christopher Lasprogata (Ardmore, Pa./Harriton) accounted for nine of the 10 faceoffs wins by the Gophers.

In his 27th consecutive start in goal for Goucher, Karl Wiszumerski (Pottstown, Pa./The Hill School) matched his career-high for saves in a game by making 13.

The Gophers face a must-win situation in their next game, which is a week from today against Catholic in the nation's capital. Unless they beat the Cardinals, they will be eliminated from playoff contention and miss the Landmark Conference's championship tournament for the first time.