Ocycz's Monster Day Leads Endicott Past WNE
from press release
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Graduate student midfielder Sam Ozycz (Cheshire, Conn.), already ranked top-5 in NCAA Division III in groundballs per game and face-off win percentage, set career-highs two career-highs in a dramatic 13-12 Endicott victory over Western New England to end the regular season on Wednesday evening on the road.
The Gulls (12-5, 7-1 CCC) jumped over Western New England in the CCC standings to take the regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament behind Ozycz's career-high 27-of-28 face-off wins and 26 groundballs. Offensively, sophomore attacker Nick Pinciaro (Beverly, Mass.) scored four times and fellow sophomore midfielder Harrison Cotter's (Lordship, Conn.) third goal with 3:20 remaining in regulation proved to be the game-winner for the visiting Gulls.
Sophomore Joshua Tordik (Sayville, N.Y.) had his stick in four different goals with his 12th goal and three assists to bump his team-leading total up to 23 helpers. Senior attacker Connor McCormack (Norwalk, Conn.) scored twice and assisted on another goal and now has 38 points on the season.
Between the pipes, Gulls freshman goalie Cameron Bell (Falmouth, Maine) settled down after a slow start to the game in which Endicott trailed 5-2 after the first half, holding the Golden Bears to a total of three goals in the second and third quarters combined to help get the Blue and Green back in the game. Bell ended up with 16 saves, including nine in the third quarter, as his record improved to 11-4 on the year.
Also defensively, junior Lucas Paratore (Wenham, Mass.) caused two turnovers and scooped five groundballs in the win.
Two goals by Pinciaro, assisted by Tordik and Jonathan Morgan (Lake Panamoka, N.Y.), kept Endicott in the game in the first quarter as Western New England saw five different goal scorers beat the keeper to take a 5-2 lead.
In the second, Endicott used a three-goal run over the first 7:04 of the period to tie the game at 5-5. Two of the goals were scored on man-up opportunities with Pinciaro netting a hat trick early in the game, from Tordik, and sophomore attacker Kyle Weber (West Hartford, Conn.) scoring unassisted for his team-best 32nd tally of the season.
Western New England responded with two straight goals including Ryan Marcus' (South Hadley, Mass.) second of three goals in the game to put the Golden Bears ahead 7-5. With just under a minute until halftime, Gulls junior midfielder Chris Murphy (Holden, Mass.) delivered his 16th goal of the season as the two teams went into the break with the score Western New England 7, Endicott 6.
Endicott took control of the game right out of the gate in the second half with two quick goals at the 14:10 and 12:47 marks of the third quarter. Pinciaro netted his fourth, from McCormack, and Cotter scored the first of his three goals of the second half on an unassisted shot. Nine minutes after Cotter's goal, Morgan scored his eighth goal to give the Blue and Green a two-goal lead at 9-7.
An unassisted goal by Golden Bears sophomore Jon Bota (Mahopac, N.Y.) cut the Endicott lead down to one at 9-8 heading into the final quarter.
Once again, Endicott played well in the early minutes of fourth quarter as McCormack scored just 34 seconds into the period and Cotter followed 90 seconds later off an assist from Kevin Butler (Natick, Mass.) to take their largest lead of the contest, 11-8, with 12:56 left in the game.
A three-goal rally by Western New England tied the game at 11 as Sean Lawton (Abington, Mass.), Bota, and Adam Knapton (Canandaigua, N.Y.) all beat Bell to reset the score. With Ozycz maintaining a perfect face-off win-percentage in the second half, Endicott was able to maintain possession of the ball and at 4:34 Tordik scored his goal to put the Gulls back on top. Cotter recorded his third hat trick of the season with 3:20 remaining and his goal proved to be the difference-maker with Western New England's Marcus putting one in with just 25 ticks left on the clock to make it 13-12.
Despite getting a penalty prior to the goal and being man-down for the final 25 seconds of the game, Endicott was able to keep Western New England from tying the game.