March 6, 2009

HENNIKER, NH - Sophomore forward Eric Tufman (Abington, PA) netted a pair of goals to lead the number eight seed University of Massachusetts Boston men's ice hockey team over host number four seed New England College, 5-4, this evening in the Eastern College Athletic Conference East tournament semifinals in Henniker, NH in front of a crowd of 549 at Lee Clement Arena.

The Beacons improve to 10-15-2 with their first win over the Pilgrims since a 9-5 victory in 1996 in Boston and their first victory in Henniker since an 11-4 rout in 1993. UMass Boston will play for the ECAC East Tournament championship for the first time in school history when it meets seventh-seeded Babson College, a 3-2 winner over number six seed Skidmore College, tomorrow in Henniker at 4:00 p.m. UMB was a 4-2 winner over the Beavers earlier in the season in Babson Park on December 10.

UMass Boston opened the scoring when freshman defenseman Wayne Sands (Chalfant, PA) sent a lead pass to junior forward Kris Kranzky (Glendora, CA) in the slot, who found a waiting Tufman in front of the crease for a wrister that settled into the back of the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead at 14:43 of the first period, but New England College wasted no time in answering when junior forward Mark Ehl (North Vancouver, BC) and sophomore forward Bill McGinnis (Williams Lake, BC) combined to set up sophomore forward Simon Laudon-Sorlin (Stockholm, Sweden) for his fifth tally of the campaign just a shade under two minutes later at 16:41. It was the first goal allowed by UMB junior goalie Ryan Donovan (Rexford, NY) in 104:57 minutes of action, dating back to 13:50 of the third period vs. Tufts University on February 20.

The Beacons seized the momentum in the second period with a 16-8 shot advantage, while netting the only three goals of the session to take a 4-1 lead. Tufman dished to freshman defenseman Brian Marks (Brownville, NY), who's shot went wide left on the power play, but Kranzky collected the rebound off the boards in front of the net and sent a wrister between the pipes for his eighth goal of the year at 17:36 for a 2-1 edge. Freshman forward Anthony Fitti (Havertown, PA) later sent a shot from the blue line that freshman defenseman Andrew Burke (Southampton, PA) redirected between the skates of the Pilgrims' goalie for his first collegiate goal at the 7:39 mark for a 3-1 margin and sophomore Vinnie Jacona (East Stroudsburg, PA) picked up a loose puck in the left circle and fired a shot into the upper right corner for his ninth goal of the season on an assist from freshman forward Chris Wyman (Bartlett, IL) and sophomore defenseman Gentry Zollars (Bethel Park, PA) with 2:50 left in the middle period.

UMass Boston kept the pressure on in the third period when freshman defenseman Nick Novak (Green Bay, WI) took a pass from Kranzky and fired a shot from the blueline that Tufman put his stick on in front of the net for his second tally of the night and 10th of the season at 14:58 of the period for a 5-1 advantage. New England College rallied with three goals to pull to within 5-4 when junior forward Jon Globke's (West Bloomfield, MI) shot was stopped, but freshman Olli Kalliosaari (Hattula, Finland) was there to put the rebound in for his team-leading 12th goal of the year at 12:22 of the period and Ehl later scored his 10th goal of the season on the power play with just 2:50 left when he took a feed from junior blueliner Trevor Turner (Westbank, BC) and sent a deflected shot over Donovan's pad side. The Pilgrims' committed a penalty immediately following the goal and later pulled their goalie at 1:15 to even the playing field and took advantage when freshman defenseman Jarkko Leppanen (Tampere, Finland) scored from the top of the right circle with just :24.8 seconds left to play with Kalliosaari and freshman forward Jared Mullen (Roanoke, VA) on the assist to pull to within 5-4, but that would be the final goal of the evening.

Donovan made 30 saves to earn the victory for the Beacons, while sophomore goaltender Aaron Harvey (Milford, NS) stopped 19 shots for New England College.