BRUNSWICK, Maine – The Tufts University men's lacrosse team secured the #1 seed in NESCAC with a 13-7 victory at Bowdoin College in the regular-season finale at Whittier Field on Wednesday night.
|Senior Arend Broekmate and the Jumbo defense allowed the second-fewest goals to a NESCAC team this season.|
Tufts will head into the NESCAC Championship as the top seed for the sixth time in the 19-year history of the event. Tonight's win puts the fourth-ranked Jumbos at 14-1 overall and 9-1 in NESCAC.
Bowdoin, who had no chance to qualify for the conference tournament entering tonight, ended its season at 6-9 and 2-8 in the league.
Tufts senior Ben Connelly, the current NESCAC Player of the Week, remained red-hot with six more goals tonight. He now has 17 in his last three games, including seven against Bates and four versus Middlebury (both wins).
The Jumbos ran into a hot goalie tonight as Bowdoin sophomore Michael Covell made 25 saves on the 38 shots he faced. However, Tufts had a four-goal run that bridged the first and second quarters, and extended it to six of seven overall to open up some space.
Bowdoin had its only lead at 1-0 when Zach Chandler scored 90 seconds into the game. The Jumbos then had an early man-up opportunity and Connelly converted with his first of the night at 11:27 to even the score.
After the teams traded goals 15 seconds apart – Max Waldbaum for the Jumbos, Jimmy Young for the Polar Bears – Tufts initiated its run. They scored the next four, with two by Connelly and a goal with an assist from fellow senior Danny Murphy. Senior James Gilbert's tally at 9:12 of the second period put the guests up 6-2.
Nick Iznaga stopped the run for Bowdoin with the final goal of the half making it 6-3 Jumbos at intermission.
Tufts then had the first two of the second half, a long-stick goal by senior Brian Powers and Connelly's fourth for an 8-3 lead. Bowdoin would stick around as back-to-back scores by Chandler less than a minute apart pulled them to 8-5 late in the third.
However, Connelly scored 39 seconds into the fourth quarter and junior Nick Shanks added another at 13:36 as the Jumbos kept their distance up 10-5. Brad Ingersoll scored at 11:31 for the hosts, but 10-6 is as close as they would get the rest of the way.
Connelly netted his sixth with 3:19 remaining in regulation and then Jumbo junior Darian Matini closed the scoring with 56 seconds left.
Tufts nearly doubled Bowdoin in shots at 66-35, though groundballs (27-25 Bowdoin) and face-offs (12-11 Tufts) were close.
Murphy had a goal and three assists for Tufts while senior defenseman Arend Broekmate picked up four groundballs. Junior goalie Mason Pollack, who has scored two goals this season, had an assist tonight along with making 11 saves.
Young and Chandler both had two goals for Bowdoin while Caleb Geitz caused two turnovers. Covell made seven saves in both the first and third periods.
The Jumbos will play eighth-seed Trinity College (8-7, 3-7 NESCAC) in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Tournament on Saturday at Bello Field. Game time is 3 pm.