Siena Pounds Providence, 7-1
May 1, 2009
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Junior goalie Brent Herbst made eight saves and carried a shutout through the first 44 minutes of play, helping Siena cruise past Providence 7-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament semifinals Friday afternoon. The Saints earned their first ever MAAC tournament win and head to the MAAC Championship game to be played Sunday at noon. Siena has won its last nine games dating back to March 21.
Siena (11-5) enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter with the period's only goal coming on a fast break. After a Providence turnover, Mike Whalen brought the ball down the field and passed to Ryan Duggan who made the extra pass to MAAC Rookie of the Year Bryan Neufeld on the right side of the cage. He fired the quick shot past goalkeeper Robert Bryan at the 11:12 mark of the first period.
Herbst made the first of a few dazzling saves of the game at the 9:22 mark of the second period when he went down and stopped a shot that was labeled for the five-hole. Two minutes later, Jordan Loftus gave the Saints a 2-0 advantage in a man-up situation. Just 10 seconds into the penalty, Neufeld threw a pass from the right side across the goal mouth where Loftus caught and shot it over the goalie's stick.
Siena killed off two one-minute penalties separated by just two minutes in the second period. Just 17 seconds after the second penalty was released, Chris Zarins ripped a left handed shot from the left side to put Siena up 3-0.
With 7.8 seconds left in the half Providence had the ball behind Siena's cage. Steve Lydon came around and took a shot that Chris Viviano blocked. Lydon picked up the ground ball and as he was shooting again, Herbst came charging at him and made the save, controlling the rebound and bringing the Saints into halftime with a 3-0 lead.
Siena added to its lead with a goal by Kenny Mazzone two minutes into the second half. Neufeld scored on his trademark shot off another Siena fast break with 1:53 left in the third period. Bryan Hale forced a turnover near Siena's restraining line, picked up the loose ball, flew down the field and passed to Neufeld on the crease. He flipped it backhanded low and just inside the far post.
Providence (6-10) ended the shutout bid just as Siena killed off its third penalty of the game. Mike Feldberg scored with 52 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to four goals.
Feldberg ripped another shot one minute into the fourth period, but Herbst flashed his leg out and made the kick save.
Neufeld completed the hat-trick at the 12:01 mark of the fourth quarter and Shaun Dunn added another with five minutes left.
The last time Siena allowed one goal was in a 10-1 win at Wagner on April 5, 2008. Providence turned the ball over 24 times (up from their league best 16.4/game). Siena caused 12 of those turnovers.
Siena had won just two of its 23 meetings with Providence before this season. In the last week, the Saints have beaten the Friars twice.
Siena faces the winner of Mount St. Mary's/Manhattan on Sunday at noon. The Saints defeated Mount St. Mary's 9-6 (April 18) at home and Manhattan 16-9 (March 28) on the road.