SPRINGFIELD, Mass.-Just a minute and 53 seconds away from the end of their season, senior Kyle Grell scored the game winner in double-overtime to lift Coast Guard past Springfield and into the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Tournament. The victory gives the Bears (8-7-3) the number four seed in the tournament and they will host Springfield (13-5-0) on Wednesday.
With the clock winding down and Springfield needing only a draw to secure a first-round home game, it looked like Coast Guard might be out of luck, however, "we pushed on, earned a free kick in a dangerous area and Kyle Grell finished a great ball by (senior) John Rendon," said coach Chris Parsons.
Grell would not be the only hero, however, as junior Richie Burns had a tremendous day in goal for the Bears. "Richie showed why he was the first team all-conference keeper last year; he made at least four game-saving saves!" added Parsons.
The game was scoreless until the 64th minute when the Bears finally broke through. Senior Robert Copeland came up with a big steal and tapped it into the left side of the goal for a 1-0 lead, but Springfield would answer back. The goal was the sixth of the season for Copeland, who has now scored four times in his last two games.
In the 75th minute, trailing 1-0, senior Scott Saucier knotted it up at a goal apiece. Saucier beat several defenders on his own and ripped a shot that went above the hands of Burns and into the top of the goal, to ultimately force overtime.
Senior Ryan Malone almost ended the game at the start of double overtime, sending a bullet of a shot into the hands of Burns who held for one of his nine saves on the day. Malone also had a chance in the first half but that attempt was also saved by Burns, one of many chances that Malone couldn't finish on.
Coast Guard had a chance with 28 minutes left in the game. Rendon took a corner kick that was corralled by Copeland who would attempt a bicycle-kick which went just high. Sophomore Billy Schmid made five saves in goal for the Pride.