Ryan uses faceoff victories to aid Eastern to 12-3 win against Messiah
GRANTHAM, Pa. -- Five players scored two goals each as Eastern picked up a 12-3 non-league win at Messiah to head into Easter break. Eastern scored 10 of the final 11 goals of the match to improve to 7-2 on the year.
Faceoff specialist AJ Ryan was limited by injury in the early part of the year, but he rounded back into form. He won 15 of 19 (79 percent) at the X to give the Eagles an edge in possession throughout the evening.
Ryan won the first two faceoffs and the Eagles controlled play early. Both teams had turnovers on their first possessions before Will Johnson converted from the right side on a feed from Chris Farrar. Johnson's only goal of the day was his third of the year.
Farrar picked up an assist on the second goal of the game. The Eagles scored almost immediately in transition after Ryan won the faceoff. Zac Ivy scored his first of two on the game from the doorstep. The two goals were only seven seconds apart.
Ryan won the third faceoff as well, but the Falcons got the stop they needed and were able to halve the deficit on a Tyler Goglio goal with 8:20 on the clock. Messiah won the next battle at the X and after an extended possession, they drew level on a dodge and shot from Andrew Harris.
Eastern then rattled off three goals in the final six minutes of the first quarter to grab control of the match. Andy Jameson scored from Ivy for the lead, and Farrar stretched the edge with an unassisted tally a minute later. In the final minute of the period, Matt Soldano scored from distance on a Grant Ferguson feed to put the Eagles up three. Eastern had an 11-5 edge in first-period shots, and senior goalie Aaron Benz did not make any of his eight stops in the first 15 minutes.
The Eagles increased their control of the match in the second period. The Eagles outshot Messiah 18-4 in the period and scored three times to lead 8-2 at the intermission. Chris Farrar scored from the doorstep on a pass from Ivy just past the midway point. Grant Ferguson then capitalized on a man-up chance from Kyle Gillam less than a minute later. Ron Johnson scored the final goal of the half in transition after one of Benz's three saves.
The Eastern defense, led by midfielders Ron Johnson, Shawn Farmer and Brendan Stouber, was dominant through the game. The trio of defensive midfielders kept the Messiah attackers from getting into dangerous positions without committing fouls. Stouber had a pair of caused turnovers and two ground balls, and Farmer had four ground balls.
Messiah (2-5) scored to open the second half, but the Eagles answered with goals from Soldano and Jameson to close out the period. First-year midfielder Desmond Decker picked up the assist on Jameson's goal with under a half a minute to play.
Ferguson picked up his team-best 24th of the year with 10:28 to play and Ivy scored from Soldano at the eight minute mark. Ivy's tally is the 70th of his career, and he now has 99 career points. He is alone in sixth on the Eastern career goal list.