UTICA, N.Y. – Stevens completed its dominance of the Empire 8 Conference with a 3-2 shootout victory against Ithaca in the conference championship match on Sunday. It is the sixth consecutive Empire 8 crown for the program. Officially, the game is recorded as a tie and the Ducks and Bombers will share the 2012 Empire 8 Championship.
With the result, the Ducks will appear in their 12th consecutive NCAA tournament.
In the first 25 minutes, the Ducks dominated play, outshooting the Bombers 8-3. Six of Stevens’ eight shots were on goal.
The two sides played to a scoreless tie in the first half. Stevens held a 9-3 lead in shots and a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
As the second period began, it became clear the Bombers were angling for a scoreless tie, as Ithaca kept eight or nine men back even when the ball was deep in Stevens’ zone and did not take a shot until the 86th minute.
At 78:07, Stephen Dunbar fired a shot at point-blank range but the Ithaca keeper came up with the diving save and the game went to a scoreless overtime. Stevens led 14-4 in shots and put eight shots on goal to the Bombers’ two at the end of regulation.
In the first overtime, both sides traded close free kick opportunities. Stevens’ shot sailed high, but Killian dove for the save on Ithaca’s attempt. The ball was loose in the box but the defense was able to clear it away and fight off the first dangerous Bomber attack. Ithaca continued to put pressure on Stevens in the first OT but Killian stood strong in goal. Ithaca outshot the Ducks 4-1.
Neither team could find the net in the second overtime and the game headed to a penalty kick shootout to decide the official winner.
Ithaca began the shootout with a miss, and Adler stepped up and knocked his attempt in for the early lead. In the next round, the Bombers made a shot and the Ducks missed as the shootout was tied at one. Killian made a big diving save in the third round, and Kevin Calloway and Victor Daza both converted the next kicks for Stevens.
Killian ended the game by coming up with a save to clinch the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.