KINGS POINT, N.Y. — With the way everything else shook out around the Landmark Conference today, the winner of the game matching Goucher and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy was going to have sole possession of first place at the end of the day.
The two teams battled well into the second half without coming up with a goal. That changed in the 80th minute, however, when the home team capitalized on what turned out to be the final scoring opportunity for either side.
The play that led to the goal began with Kyle Arestivo passing the ball from the right side and Gavin Yingling finishing with a shot from the slot. The sophomore forward's team-leading fourth goal of the season allowed the Mariners (6-3-1, 2-0 Landmark) to emerge with a 1-0 victory over the Gophers.
Nicholas Stolarz (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson) started in goal for Goucher, and even though Merchant Marine ended the first half with a 9-1 advantage in shots, he had to make only two saves to keep the Mariners off the scoreboard.
The Gophers (4-4, 1-1 Landmark) didn't test Cory Maier until the opposing keeper made a play on a shot by Kevin Tonkovich (Lacey, N.J./Lacey Twp.) in the opening minute of the second half.
Maier went on to make three more saves before the Mariners got off their first shot of the second half. Midway through the period, Arestivo came close to putting his team ahead only to have his shot hit the crossbar.
Stolarz made two saves in the second half, both on shots by Yingling, as he finished with four. Maier's final total of six included stops on shots by Drew Afromsky (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) in the 77th minute and Andrew Marcantonio (Philadelphia, Pa./Chestnut Hill Academy) in the 78th minute.
The Gophers weren't able to get off any shots following Yingling's goal.
"Today was a tough loss," head coach Bryan Laut commented after the game. "It was an even game between two good teams and unfortunately we ended up on the wrong side of a special play. However, there are a ton of positives we can take away from this game to help us continue getting closer to the goals we've set."
The only game for Laut's Gophers in the week ahead will be against St. Mary's (Md.) at 7 p.m. Tuesday on Beldon Field.