|Date and Time:||05/04/2008, 12:00PM|
|Opponent:||vs. Williams (at Middlebury)|
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Williams jumped out to a 5-1 lead over Bowdoin and took an eventual 9-4 victory over the Polar Bears in the NESCAC finals held at Middlebury College on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the 10-5 Ephs earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The NCAA will announce the remaining teams on Sunday night.
Since the inception of the NESCAC tournament in 2001, Williams had never made it past the semifinals, while Bowdoin (11-6) had made four semifinal appearances and was playing in their second conference title game.
The Ephs got on the board with a pair of goals in the first quarter, including a man-up score by David Hawley for a 2-0 lead with 4:26 left. Cullen Winkler answered for the Polar Bears on a driving shot from the right side, cutting the lead to 2-1 with 3:41 on the clock. Michael Vrla scored the next two for Williams, highlighted by his second tally off a dodge to the doorstep of Bowdoin's starting goalie Gordon Convery for a 4-1 lead after one quarter.
Hawley extended the Ephs' lead to 5-1 in the in the opening minute of the second quarter with a bullet from the left side set up by a feed from Dixon Hargrove. The Polar Bears scored the final goal of the half on Owen Smith's goal at the 1:15 mark, setting the score at 5-2 at intermission.
Smith got Bowdoin within two, rolling past a great pick for his second goal of the game at 10:33 in the third quarter. Williams responded, scoring the next four goals, building a 9-3 advantage at the 4:33 mark in the fourth quarter. Hargrove had a pair during the run, including his tally set-up by Bryan Wrapp after an Ephs timeout. The Polar Bears added the final goal with 3:19 remaining as Matt Legg collected a feed from Harry Ashforth, capping the scoring at 9-4.
Vrla led the Ephs with three goals, while Hawley and Hargrove added a pair of tallies and two assists apiece, while Smith's two goals paced Bowdoin. Michael Gerbush made 13 saves in net for Williams, allowing four goals. Convery stopped four shots and gave up five goals in the first half for the Polar Bears, while teammate Alex Gluck made four saves and allowed four goals in the second half.
Photo/story courtesy of Middlebury College Sports Information