May 17, 2012

Carbonneau Saves St. Thomas, Thwarts Dayton

by Jac Coyne | | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Ryan Zeilinger made 13 saves, incudling a desperation heave by Dayton at the buzzer, helping to fend off a late charge by Flyers and giving the Tommies 14-13 victory in the MCLA Division II semifinals.
© Cecil Copeland

St. Thomas coughed up a four-goal lead in the final nine minutes of the game, but Peter Carbonneau scored with 1:38 left in the contest to lift the top-seeded Tommies to a 14-13 victory over Dayton in the semifinals of the MCLA Division II tournament.

With the win, St. Thomas will advance to the finals for the fourth consecutive season, where it will face Grand Valley State, earlier winners over Davenport in the other semifinal.

St. Thomas (15-1) appeared to have the game locked up after Matt Kleven scored his second goal of the game to give the Tommies a 13-8 lead with 11:24 left in the contest. From that point forward, however, Dayton (13-4) went on a five-goal binge with markers from five different players, drawing even when Will McCormick flipped a ball into the net while falling to the turf with 6:17 left.

"We were giving them opportunities in transition and we know that's one of those things they're going to do well," said St. Thomas head coach Pete Moosbrugger. "We were overreaching and having guys being too aggressive in between the lines. If you look, they didn't put a lot of six-on-six goals against us."

"We have nothing to lose," said Dayton head coach Charlie Mark to his team just prior to going on the run. "Let's play our game and go to the goal. Let's run and gun. That's what we do."

After Carbonneau beat Dayton goalie Ben Domyanic with a bounce shot on the crease, Dayton had the ball in their zone with under a minute to play.

"I had my three best players touch the ball with under 53 seconds left, but we just couldn't put one in," said Mark of the Flyers final possession, which ended with UST goalie Ryan Zeilinger stopping a desperation shot at the buzzer.

The fact that Dayton even had a chance was tough to envision at the start of the game.

St. Thomas set the tone early, taking a 6-3 lead after one period of play, thanks to a run of four goals in just 3:14. John Michael Coon started the run with crank shot off a dodge and finished up with David Chlipala converting a pass from James Maki.

Christian Furbay opened the second half with his second of the game to trim the lead to 6-4, but Matt Klevin and Will Hersman answered for the Tommies, giving them an 8-4 lead with 9:06 remaining in the half.

The two teams traded goals – Gerry Jehling with a crease finish for Dayton and a Carbonneau crease roll for St. Thomas – to close out the half with a 9-5 UST lead.

The squads continued to go back-and-forth for the first four goals of the third quarter before Joe Palmero gave UST it's first five-goal advantage, 12-7, by burying a feed from Carbonneau. The lead was still at five after McCormick and Kleven matched goals, setting up Dayton's valiant run.

Carbonneau finished with three goals and an assist for the Tommies while Klevin and Will Hersman each added a pair of goals. Gerry Jehling had two goals and a helper for Dayton while Christian Furbay and McCormick each had two goals. Zeilinger made 13 saves for the Tommies while Domyancic was credited with sevens stops.

St. Thomas, which won the title in 2009 and 2010 before falling in last year's championship game, will face Grand Valley State at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday in Sirrine Stadium. Dayton sees its season come to an end in the national semifinals for the fourth time in the last five years.

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