January 7, 2012

Men’s Hockey Suffers Heartbreaking OT Loss in Codfish Championship

BOSTON, Mass. – Just 28 seconds into the overtime period a shot from Tufts' Jared Barker and a miscue by the Beacons (5-6-2) defense would be all the Jumbos (5-5-1) needed as they edged the host Beacons by the final score of 2-1 to claim the 47th Annual Codfish Bowl Championship Saturday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center Ice Arena.

Tied at 1-1 going into the five minute sudden victory period, the two teams showing signs of absolute exhaustion faced-off at the redline.  Tufts winners of the opening face-off would work the puck around in their own end before moving it up the ice, where it would find the stick of Barker.  The towering defenseman would then get off a wrister, which unfortunately deflected off a Beacons shoulder pad and inadvertently ended up in the Beacons goal catching senior netminder Kevin Bendel (Denville, N.J.) by total surprise.

Before anyone knew what happened the Jumbos cleared their bench to celebrate the victory.  With the win, Tufts became only the third team New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) member in the 47 year history of the Codfish to skate away with the title.

Setting up what would be the deciding overtime period was a true battle of will as both teams gave everything they had for all 60 minutes of regulation.  UMass Boston which proved to be the more dominant team in the shots category were held to the one goal by the impressive play of Tournament MVP Scott Barchard who totaled 42 saves to earn the victory, his fifth of the year.  Bendel tallied 15 saves, as the Beacons defense allowed just 17 Jumbos shots on the night.

After a scoreless first period, Tufts go on the scoreboard 42 seconds into the second period on the power-play as All-Tournament selection Blake Edwards drove home his second goal of the year off of a Barker and Tyler Voigt assist. 

With the momentum shifting towards the Jumbos, the Beacons knew they had to tie the score as soon as possible to stay in the game.  That goal would come just eight minutes later in the form of a Rob Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) score at the 8:58 mark.  The goal would cap off a strong weekend for the sophomore who along with senior Anthony Fitti (Havertown, Pa.) were both named to the All-Tournament team. 

Florentino's goal was a powerful slap shot that managed to get past two Jumbo defenders and Barchard, who up to that point had made a combined 26 saves.  Assisting on the then game-tying goal was Andrew Burke (Southampton, Pa.), his fourth of the season, and John Houston (Pittsburgh, Pa.), his sixth of his freshman campaign.

The second would come to a close with the score still tied at 1-1.  In the third, the Beacons controlled the puck from start to finish and could have made it at least a two goal game, but both goals were called back by the officials. 

On the day Tufts was 1-for-2 on the power-play, while UMass Boston which had a slew of chances in the second finished 0-for-4 on the man-up opportunities. 

Men's hockey returns to the Clark Athletic Center on Friday when they take on St. Michael's College at 7 p.m. in an ECAC East match-up.

47th Annual Codfish Bowl All-Tournament Team
Jeremiah Ketts – Johnson & Wales University
Connor Audecky – Southern New Hampshire University
Rob Florentino – UMass Boston
Anthony Fitti – UMass Boston
Blake Edwards – Tufts University
Jared Barker – Tufts University

Tournament MVP
Scott Barchard – Tufts University

The Lawrence F. Curran Award Recipient
Jim Ennis – UMass Boston