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Tufts Athletics | May 25, 2014

DIII: Tufts wins second NCAA title

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Tufts outscored Salisbury 7-1 in the third quarter and won its second NCAA championship with a 12-9 victory versus the Sea Gulls in the national championship game at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Junior Cole Bailey was named the game's Most Outstanding Player after scoring a goal with five assists. Tufts was behind 4-1 early in the second quarter, but Bailey scored and had three assists in the second as the Jumbos tied the score by halftime.

Senior goalie Patton Watkins made 17 saves for the Jumbos, including eight in the third period as Tufts held off a late charge by Salisbury. Sophomore Ben Andreycak, junior Peter Gill and sophomore John Uppgren all scored twice for the Jumbos, with Uppgren adding two assists. Sophomore defenseman Blake Wood caused two turnovers senior Kane Delaney grabbed five ground balls.

Finishing 21-2, the Jumbos set a program record for victories in a season. With its 12 goals in the game, Tufts finished the 2014 season with 423 to set a NCAA Division III single-season record. Its seven assists in the game gave them 45 in the NCAA tournament to set another national mark.

Salisbury, which also finished 21-2, was led by a goal with two assists from Greg Korvin and two goals apiece from Sean Fitzgerald and Donovan Lange. Senior Chris Bank won 13 of 24 face-offs for the Sea Gulls, while Brendan Bormwell caused two turnovers. Knute Kraus finished with four ground balls and goalie Alex Taylor made nine saves.

Salisbury shut down the Tufts offense in the first period and scored three goals of their own for an early lead. The Jumbos scored first on a goal by Peter Gill 55 seconds into the game, but Salisbury had the next four. Korvin scored and assisted on goals 45 seconds apart to get the run started.

After Thomas Cirillo made it 3-1 Salisbury at 6:12 of the first, Watkins made two good saves to keep the margin at two after 15 minutes of play.

The Sea Gulls would strike first in the second quarter as Luke Phipps scored at 11:31 for a 4-1 margin. Tufts would came to life after 22:02 of play without scoring. Bailey figured in the next four goals, scoring once and assisting Beau Wood and Uppgren twice. A Salisbury goal from Rhett DePol was sandwiched in the middle making it a 5-5 game at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Jumbos took their first lead since 1-0 with Andreycak scoring twice in the first 3:03. His second goal came during a man-up situation and gave Tufts a 7-5 lead. The tally also gave the Jumbos 418 goals this season, surpassing the NCAA record of 418 held by Salisbury from the 2007 season.

The Sea Gulls got one back by Lange at 9:04, giving Salisbury six goals by six different players. 

A good save by Watkins led to a five-goal Tufts run that put them in control of the game. Bailey threaded a pass through two defenders to find C.J. Higgins in front of the net for an 8-6 advantage. The Jumbos would then score three times in the next seconds, with senior Dan Leventhal, sophomore face-off man Conor Helfrich and senior Peter Bowers extending the lead to 11-6. Tufts would cap the run with Gill's second goal of the game assisted by Bailey with just 4.3 seconds remaining in the quarter for a 12-6 margin.

The seven goals in the third quarter were the most allowed by the Sea Gulls in a period this season. It's more goals that Salisbury was allowing per game, as it entered the game with a 6.32 goals-against average for the season.

The Tufts defense stepped up in the fourth quarter as Salisbury tried to get back in it. They scored twice in the opening 5:05 of the period by Lange and Mike Kane cutting the Jumbo lead to 12-8. When Fitzgerald recorded a man-up goal it was a three-goal game (12-9) with 6:52 remaining.

Watkins was at his best in the final six minutes, making several saves. Meanwhile, the Jumbo defense led by the efforts of Blake Wood, Cem Kalkavan, Dan Alles and Garrett Read limited Salisbury's quality shots. Soon the Jumbos were storming the field to celebrate another national title.  

In winning their second NCAA championship including 2010, the Jumbos overcame the early deficit and a 5-2 disadvantage in penalties. Tufts shut down the first four man-up chances by Salisbury until their final goal. Tufts finished 1-for-2 on man-advantages. The Jumbos were also playing without junior Chris Schoenhut, the nation's leading goal scorer with 80 who was hurt at the NCAA semifinal win at RIT.