May 16, 2013

MCLA Tournament Semifinal Recaps

from staff reports

Westminster goalie Chris Burckle made 14 saves, helping the Griffins subdue St. John's in triple overtime, 9-8.
© Cecil Copeland

The MCLA Division I finals will have a familiar feel, as RMLC foes Colorado State and Colorado meet for the third time this spring. It's also a rematch of the 2006 national championship game, won by the Rams, 8-7. On the D-II side, the top two seed will be playing for the title, but it wasn't easy, as both had to survive overtime scares from their semifinal opponents.

The championship games will be played on Saturday, May 18, in Greenville, S.C.

MCLA Division I

No. 1 Colorado State 9, No. 4 Brigham Young 7

In the third meeting between the two squads, Colorado State used a big fourth quarter to distance itself from its biggest rival. Locked up at fives after three quarters of play, the Rams managed to outscore the Cougars, 4-2, in the final frame to complete the sweep and ensure a revisit to the national championship game.

Braxton Campbell and Eric Uhl each scored a pair of goals for CSU while Koltin Fatzinger made five stops in the second half. Jake Arbon was the top gun for the Cougars with two goals while Rob Ostler was solid in net with 10 saves in the loss.

No. 2 Colorado 5, No. 3 Arizona State 4

In the lowest scoring MCLA semifinal game since 2005, when UC Santa Barbara edged Michigan, 4-3, Colorado advanced to the national championship game for the first time since '06. Arizona State struck for the first two goals of the game, but the Buffaloes managed to rebound in the second quarter to send the game into halftime tied at three. After trading goals in the third quarter, Colorado got the deciding marker in the fourth frame. The Sun Devils entered the game averaging 16 goals in the tournament, but could not solve the Colorado backline.

Ryan Haines and Riley Seidel led CU with a pair of goals while Tyler Dougherty added the fifth. Payson Clark produced half of Arizona State's goals. ASU's Preston Anderson made three stops in the loss while Brad Macnee was credited with no saves to pick up the win.

MCLA Division II

No. 2 Westminster 9, No. 3 St. John's 8 (3ot)

Brian Tyrrell won a scramble in front of the net with 1:43 left in the third overtime and buried it into the St. John's goal, giving the Griffins the victory and sending them to the title game for the first time since 2008. Westminster raced out to a 6-1 lead to start the game and appeared to be on pace for its third rout of the tournament, but St. John's clawed back, outscoring the Griffins, 5-0, in the third period to take a 7-6 lead after three. With the Johnnies still leading by a goal and under a minute to go, it appeared St. John's would get the ball back in their own zone, but a dubious call awarded possession to Westminster. The Griffins cashed in, sending the contest into overtime.

Kyle Postler led the way for Westminster with three goals and two assists while Tyrrell chipped in with a pair of goals. Miles Armitage and Conlan Meade had hat tricks for St. John's. Chris Burckle was solid in net for the Griffins, turning away 14 shots – although he got some help from defender Matt Lambourne, who took a shot off the chest in overtime when Burckle was caught out of the net. Mike King was credited with five saves for the Johnnies.

No. 1 St. Thomas 10, No. 4 Liberty 9 (ot)

This game closely followed the script of the first semifinal, with Will Hersman playing the role of hero for St. Thomas as he delivered an overtime strike to send the Tommies back to the title game for the fifth straight year. Like Westminster before it, UST tried to put the game away in the second quarter when it ballooned the lead to 8-4 at halftime. Liberty, however, scored five of the six goals in the second half to knot the game at nines, forcing overtime.

Peter Carbonneau (2g, 3a), David Chilpala (2g, 2a) and Nikolas Colpitts (2g, 2a) led the St. Thomas offense and Steven Bang came on in relief to make six saves in the second half. Joe Gargiulo paced Liberty with four goals and a dime while Ryan Miller had two goals and three helpers. Ethan Kamholtz was strong for the Flames, turning away 15 shots. This was Liberty's last game in MCLA Division II, as they will bump up to the senior circuit next spring.

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