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Men’s college roundup: Widener advances in MAC playoffs, Eastern foiled in OT by Messiah, Kupecki (U. Merion)

Tuesday, 4th May 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/4/10

Widener received many strong efforts, including standout play from sophomore Nick Fluharty (Avon Grove) in a 14-10 victory over host Lycoming in the first round of the Middle Atlantic Conference Tournament Monday in Williamsport.

Sixth-seeded Widener (8-9) is in the semifinals for the 10th straight year, a run only interrupted by the fact there was no MAC Tournament in 2000. The Pride on Wednesday look to continue to their road magic at top-seeded Elizabethtown, beginning at 4:00 pm.

Widener improved to 18-3 in this tournament that includes 6-0 against Lycoming and is 7-1 in its last eight tournament games on the road. The Pride have eliminated the Warriors three consecutive years in Williamsport, including the previous two in the semifinals.

After playing to a 3-3 tie at quarter time, Lycoming (11-6) gained momentum with the first four goals of the second quarter. Ethan Payne netted a pair in that span and assisted on Stephen Romano’s tally for a 7-3 game with 10:03 left.

But Widener would not go away, scoring two straight on markers from senior Cory Malampy (Ridley) and freshman Josh Fox (Lower Merion) for a 7-5 game with 8:04 to play in the half.

After Ed Williams scored for the Warriors to make it 8-5, the Pride netted the last four goals of the half over six minutes for a 9-8 halftime lead. Sophomore Ryan Shewell scored twice in that run with Malampy and junior Kevin McLemore (Upper Darby) adding one each.

Widener’s run of consecutive goals reached seven after netting three in the third quarter for a 12-8 lead. Junior JJ Hoeffler, freshman Will Roe and sophomore Mark Kane (Morton, PA) all scored in that span.

The difference in the game was Fluharty. After not playing in the teams’ first meeting due to injury, a 15-7 Lycoming win on April 24 in which Widener won only 7-of-26 face-offs, Fluharty changed things by taking 18-of-27. This included 14-of-18 in the first half.

Fluharty also closed with 15 ground balls. Malampy, Hoeffler, Shewell and McLemore all scored twice for the Pride.

The Widener defense stepped up by limiting the Warriors to just two goals in the second half and blanking them for 24 minutes, 46 seconds spanning both halves. That defense allowed freshman Bobby Schluter (Kennett Square/Tatnall School) to only have to make five saves.

Payne, who scored six goals in the first meeting, was held to three today as was Romano. Alan Antinarelli made 13 saves.

Messiah 10, Eastern 9

Freshman attackman Heath Kupecki (Upper Merion) tied the game with 1:09 to play in regulation and had three goals while Brent Stewart tallied the game-winner in overtime as Messiah (9-7) advanced to the MAC semifinals.

Michael Hofmeister had four goals and an assist for the Eagles (11-5).

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