Bears Win ECAC Championship
BRISTOL, R.I. – Freshman Alexander Lane converted the final penalty lifting second-seeded Coast Guard over top-seeded Roger Williams to win the fourth Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship in program history. After playing to a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtime periods, the Bears captured the Championship 4-2 on penalty kicks.
Bears goalie Richie Burns made a decisive diving save to stuff Hawks senior Bradley MacDonald before Lane tucked his shot into the right side of the net for the win.
A physical first half ended scoreless despite several chances for each side. Roger Williams had their best opportunity just seven minutes in when Hawks sophomore Andrew Carlson got behind the Bears back line following a Coast Guard turnover. Carlson released a shot past the charging Coast Guard keeper, Richie Burns, but the ball skipped by the far upright.
In the 25th minute, Coast Guard had a chance off a free kick from midfield. Senior Greg Kennerley put the ball into the box where sophomore Matt Bogdan flicked it to the head of junior Matt Epperly. Epperly's header was sent over the net by Hawks keeper, Jon Pelloso, who made an outstanding diving save to his left.
The Bears appeared to take the lead with under three minutes left in the opening half when junior John Rendon sent a lead pass to the foot of freshman Richard Davies. Davies shot beat Pelloso and went into the near corner of the net, but the goal was nullified when he was called offside, keeping the game scoreless.
With the wind at their backs, most of the second half played to the advantage of the Bears. In the 70th minute, freshman forward Lukas Bendetto took a pass from sophomore Conor Regan, but had his left footed shot ricochet off the crossbar.
Five minutes later, the Hawks answered back with a threat of their own when junior forward Trevor Hoxsie took possession into the Coast Guard box. Hoxsie dribbled to the corner of the six-yard box where Burns met him and made a sliding save, sending the ball out of the zone.
In the final ten seconds of regulation, the Bears nearly ended it when junior Kyle Grell sent a corner into the box to the head of sophomore John Tarzian. Tarzian's attempt headed towards the lower right corner of the goal where it was poked away by a diving Pelloso. Off the rebound, Rendon had his shot blocked and cleared out of the box by Roger William's defenders, sending the game into overtime.
The Hawks had the first opportunity in extra time when senior Paul Arute sent a free kick into the box, forcing Burns to make a leaping grab over the head of Roger Williams senior Kamali Webson. Just a minute later, Coast Guard had a chance to end it when Benedetto once again had his shot go off the crossbar.
In the second overtime, Roger Williams had a corner kick in the waning seconds, but Webson's header went just wide of the right post, leaving it up to penalty kicks to decide the winner.
Kennerley scored the first PK for the Bears, while Hawks junior Daniel Caruso matched him. Pelloso blocked Coast Guard's next attempt from sophomore Conor Regan, but the Hawks next attempt sailed over the net, keeping it tied up. Bears junior Walter Heaney connected on his attempt, while Hoxsie answered for the Hawks, tucking his shot past Burns into the lower left corner of the goal. Burns came up big stopping MacDonald's attempt, allowing Lane to knock home the game winner for Coast Guard.
Rendon was named ECAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
The Bears finish their season 13-6-2 while Roger Williams ends with a 17-5-1 record.
Post-Game Comments from Head Coach Chris Parsons
Game-winning PK from freshman Alexander Lane
Post-game comments from senior co-captain Greg Kennerley