Bucknell wins Patriot League crown
Streep scores three, adds assist in victory against Colgate
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Tournament most outstanding player Charlie Streep scored three goals and assisted on another, and the Bucknell defense was strong as the 12th-ranked Bison got a 10-3 victory against No. 16 Colgate in the Patriot League championship game Sunday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
Now 14-2, Bucknell will be headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001, and for the second time in program history.
The Bison, who came in ranked No. 9 in the Division I RPI, will find out their NCAA destination next Sunday, May 8 at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. Now 9-0 at home in 2011, Bucknell could be in the running to host an NCAA Tournament game for the first time.
Bucknell swept all eight games against Patriot League competition this season and won its two Patriot League Tournament games by a combined margin of 23-8. Sunday's win was the 300th in program history, which dates back to 1968. It was one of the team's most complete performances of the season, featuring an early onslaught from the offense, suffocating defense all over the field, and superior goaltending.
After the two teams traded goals in the opening five minutes of the game, Bucknell scored four in a row to close the first period with a 5-1 lead, and then made it five consecutive goals with an early one in the second quarter. For the second consecutive game, it was junior middie Nick Gantsoudes giving the Bison the lead for good. His low-to-low shot from the left side snuck past Jared Madison, snapping the 1-1 tie.
Three minutes later, Streep took a skip pass from Peter Burke and scored with a sidewinder from about 13 yards out. With 1:36 left in the quarter Burke scored himself with a spin to his lefthanded side and a shot through Madison's legs, and then after the Bison played for the last shot, Streep came from behind the goal and scored on a fallaway shot with just eight seconds left to make it 5-1.
Bucknell's lead jumped to 6-1 just 1:59 into the second quarter on a rocket of a shot on the run from Billy Eisenreich. Colgate got one back with 6:28 left in the half on a goal from Andrew Mould, ending a 22:45 scoreless drought, and the Bison led 6-2 at the half.
Any thoughts of a Colgate comeback were derailed in the third quarter, when the Bison outshot the Raiders 9-3 and outscored them 3-0. Streep again came from X and scored to make it 7-2, and then one of the prettiest goals of the day came when Streep grabbed his own rebound of a saved shot, and while absorbing a hit slipped a pass back in front to Todd Heritage for the goal. Chase Bailey made it 9-2 after three quarters, and Ryan Klipstein put the exclamation point on it when he stole an outlet pass from Madison and punched it back in with 9:32 remaining.
Colgate won 11 of the 17 faceoffs, but that hardly mattered as the Bison defense took the ball away time and time again. Including Friday's 13-5 semifinal victory against Lehigh, Bucknell conceded only eight goals in the tournament, one shy of the record set by Navy in 2006. Bucknell opponents had 40 turnovers in the two games, and 26 of them were caused turnovers credited to the defense.
Ten different Bison had a caused turnover against Colgate. Defensemen Mike Huffner and Alex Lyons finished with six and five ground balls, respectively, and not surprisingly both were named to the All-Tournament Team after the game. Huffner again had the responsibility of checking First Team All-Patriot Leaguer Peter Baum, and for the second time in a week he held Baum without a goal.
In fact, looking back at the game at Colgate to end the regular season last Saturday, Bucknell allowed five goals in the first quarter of that one, but then only five more goals in the next seven quarters against the Raiders.
Sophomore goalie Kyle Feeney made nine saves, including two critical stops on Colgate fastbreaks in the first quarter while the game was still very much in doubt. Madison made 14 saves for the Raiders, five coming in the fourth quarter.
Bucknell finished with a 41-21 shot advantage and a 35-25 edge in ground balls. The Bison were 19-for-20 on clears and committed only eight turnovers in the first three quarters and 13 for the game.
In addition to Streep's four points, Heritage finished with two goals and an assist, while Eisenreich and Burke both had one of each. Klipstein reach the 30-goal plateau for the second year in a row, but it was the first time all year he did not score multiple points. Klipstein was Bucknell's fourth All-Tournament selection along with Streep, Lyons and Huffner.
This was Bucknell's third time in the championship game since the Patriot League went to a postseason tournament format in 2004, and it is the first time the Bison have won it. They fell to Colgate in 2008 and to Navy at home in 2009.