Loewen powers Limestone to 16-13 win vs. Seton Hill, into national semifinals
GAFFNEY, S.C. -- Playing in their 14th consecutive NCAA Division II tournament, No. 2 Limestone punched their ticket to the national semifinals with a 16-13 victory against No. 8 Seton Hill on Saturday at Saints Field.
Riley Loewen took it upon himself to make sure that his career would not end on his home field as he delivered five goals and three assists and picked up five ground balls to lead Limestone (16-1). He was joined by Corey Rich, who scored four goals and had an assist with five ground balls of his own while Tor Reinholdt finished with a pair of goals and three assists.
Zach Cummings added two goals while faceoff specialist Jake Ternosky took 12 of 19 faceoffs to give the Limestone offense the ball. Manning the defense was goalkeeper Christian Dzwilewski as he played all 60 minutes and made 10 saves.
The Saints showed early the poise that comes with having gone to 14 consecutive NCAA tournaments. After being held scoreless in the first 10 minutes of the game, Limestone erupted for five consecutive scores to take a 5-0 lead with 2:13 on the clock. Loewen drove home three of those goals and assisted on a fourth to fuel the offensive outburst.
After shaking off the newness of being in their first NCAA tournament, Seton Hill (12-4) responded with back-to-back goals toward the end of the first quarter as James Delaney and Taylor Mansfield connected to cut the deficit to 5-2 with 11 seconds left. Mike Ponzio then made it 6-2 off a pass from Reinholdt before Matt Delmonico dished out a pair of assists for SHU to close to within two at 6-4 by the 12:04 mark.
Loewen ended that string with his fourth goal of the game, this one coming off a pass from Reid Reinholdt at 5:12. Delmonico then got the Griffins back within a two-goal margin at 7-5 as he found Delaney in front of the net with 2:38 on the clock. Zach Cummings then found the back of the net at 1:33 to send the Saints into the break with an 8-5 lead.
While the first half had some offensive punch for both teams, the third quarter alone would nearly equal that scoring. Delaney got on the board again for SHU a little more than two minutes in before Cummings and Tor Reinholdt took it themselves with unassisted scores to make it 10-6 at 11:59.
The offensive explosion continued as Dylan Lefebvre converted off a pass from Mansfield for Seton Hill, Loewen found Tor Reinholdt for the Saints and Marc Piche scored for the Griffins. After that series, Limestone came away with an 11-8 lead with 7:35 remaining in the third. The Saints then registered the next three goals in less than three minutes to push the lead to 14-8.
From there, the game tighten considerably as Delmonico drilled home back-to-back scores to make it 14-10 with 13:40 left in the game before freshman midfielder Vinny Ricci found the back of the net to put it at a five-goal difference at the 8:51 mark.
Following that goal, SHU continued an offensive push as Piche, Delmonico and Lefebvre scored three in a row to close to within 15-13 with just 2:23 left. That would be as close as the Griffins would get as Jamar Peete found Corey Rich for the clinching goal with 34 seconds left in the game.
The Griffins were led by Delmonico with three goals and five assists while Lefebvre finished with three goals and an assist. Delaney added three goals with three ground balls and Piche had a pair of scores. Taylor Mansfield chipped in with a goal and two assists. Chris Ilse played all 60 minutes in goal and made 10 saves.
Limestone will take on No. 1 Mercyhurst in the national semifinals.