Loyola Dominates Fairfield for ECAC Crown
DENVER - For those of you who were hoping for a
close championship game, the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference
was not the tournament for to watch.
In the championship game of the ECAC tournament, third-ranked Loyola blew out No. 16 Fairfield 14-7 on Friday afternoon in Denver.
“We haven’t really talked about the (NCAA) seed in the tournament yet, as much as how special today has been,” said Loyola head coach Charley Toomey. “The journey this year for these young men in my locker room, obviously we want to continue that journey. I have a special group of young men that have just come to play every day. Today I thought they were relentless; their will won us this game. We were not going to be denied today, my hat’s off to Fairfield, they’re always one of the toughest teams to play.”
Loyola's victory clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Top scorers for Loyola were junior attackman Mike Sawyer with three goals, sophomore attackman Justin Ward with two goals and three assists and Chris Layne with two goals and one assist.
Fairfield was led by John Snellman with two goals, and Brent Adams and Sam Snow chipped in with a goal and assist each.
“I need to start by congratulating Loyola,” said Fairfield head coach Andrew Copelan. “I’m sure when the new RPI comes out, they’re going to be the No. 1 team in the country, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them as the No. 1 seed [in the NCAA tournament]. They’ve got talent from top to bottom and are sound across the board. With that said, I don’t know that we helped ourselves a whole lot. My emotions are all over the place right now; I’m angry, I’m disappointed and I’m frustrated. Things just spiraled out of control. That certainly wasn’t our best effort, and it’s a tough pill to swallow when you lose in the ECAC Championship game knowing that you didn’t play your best.”
Despite the loss, Fairfield senior goaltender Charlie Cipriano had a great game, making 12 saves in the loss.
“Charlie has been our MVP all year,” said Copelan. “Charlie is unbelievable. He’s a great person, he’s a great leader, he’s a fierce competitor and you know what you’re going to get out of Charlie every time he steps out on the field. If it weren’t for Charlie, I’m not sure we would be 12-4 right now, so I’ve got the utmost respect for Charlie. I’m very proud of him and the career he’s had.”
After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Greyhounds extended their lead in the second quarter, holding Fairfield scoreless for the first 13 minutes of the quarter, to head into the locker room up 7-4 after the first half.
The second quarter trend continued in the third with Loyola going on a four-goal run to put the game out of Fairfield reach. Despite an attempted fourth quarter come-back mirroring that of Denver’s on Wednesday, the Stags’ three goals were not enough to carry them over the Greyhounds.
After the game, the ECAC named the tournament team with five representatives from the Loyola team, three Fairfield players, two Ohio State players and freshman defenseman Carson Cannon is the lone Denver player.
From Loyola, junior Scott Ratliff was named the Most Valuable Player. Also on the All-Tournament team for Loyola is Sawyer, Ward, defensemen Joe Fletcher and Dylan Grimm and Ratliff as specialist. For Fairfield is Cipriano, attackman John Snellman, and defenseman Brendan McTague. Representing Ohio State is attackman Adam Trombley and midfielder David Planning.
“It’s an honor [to be named MVP],” said Ratliff. “There’s so many great players in this conference and on my team alone, so it’s just a complete honor to be named most outstanding player. I give all the credit to my teammates because without them, I wouldn’t be able to make any of the plays I’m making out there.”