Ohio Wesleyan Upends Denison for NCAC Crown
from press release
GRANVILLE, Ohio - Junior attacker Casey Helms (Sandwich, Mass./Bridgton Academy) scored what proved to be the deciding goal and sophomore goalkeeper Ryan McMahon (Springfield, Va./The Bullis School) made a crucial save during the final minute of regulation time as Ohio Wesleyan edged 13th-ranked Denison in the championship game of the inaugural North Coast Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday in Granville.
The win gives Ohio Wesleyan the NCAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III tournament. The victory also was the Bishops' first over Denison since the 2007 season, snapping a string of 8 straight losses to the Big Red.
Ohio Wesleyan led, 9-8, heading into the fourth quarter, and Helms' goal at the 10:27 mark of the period increased the margin to 10-8.
Denison closed to within 10-9 on Nick Caravana's man-up goal with 7:58 remaining in regulation time.
The Big Red got the ball with :51 left in regulation time, and sophomore defenseman Steve Barnett (Columbus/Upper Arlington) was flagged for a slash with :20 remaining, giving the Big Red a man-up opportunity.
Denison worked the ball to Eddie Vita, but McMahon came up with the save with :06 remaining, and while Denison tracked down the loose ball, the Big Red were not able to get off another shot at the tying goal.
Chapin Speidel had given the Big Red an early 1-0 lead, but goals from senior midfielder Pat Bassett (Naperville, Ill./North) and freshman midfielder Tate Rolland (Brunswick, Md.) turned that into a 2-1 Bishop advantage.
Senior midfielder Scotty Rosenthal (Boylston, Mass./Worcester Academy) broke a 2-2 tie late in the first quarter, putting the Bishops ahead to stay, and sophomore attacker John Umbach (Montclair, N.J.) beat the first-quarter horn with a goal that made it 4-2.
The teams traded goals thrice during the second period, highlighted by Bassett's man-down score with :29 left in the half after Denison had closed to within 6-5 on a Justin DeMarchi score.
Umbach followed with a goal during the opening minute of the third period to increase the Bishop lead to 8-5.
Denison rallied with a pair of man-up goals, with Will Koontz and Vita connecting to bring the hosts within 8-7, but Rolland's second goal of the game ended that run. Teddy Powell scored to bring the Big Red within 9-8 heading into the final quarter.
Umbach, Bassett and Rolland scored twice for Ohio Wesleyan, while senior attacker Colin Short (Jamesville, N.Y./Jamesville-DeWitt) collected a goal and 3 assists.
McMahon recorded a season-high 17 saves in the Bishop crease, with 5 of those coming during the fourth quarter.
Caravana scored 2 goals for Denison. Chris Thomas stopped 7 shots in the Big Red crease.
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