ERIE, Pa. -- Three goals scored in the second propelled No. 13 Mercyhurst to a 3-1 win against Millersville in the NCAA Atlantic Region final. The Lakers improved to 17-5-0 in the season and have advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
Throughout the first half, the Lakers possessed most of the control as they outshot the Marauders 8 to 1. Both goaltenders only had to make one save as both teams kept the pressure on to prevent any shots from making it through.
The Marauders goaltender Brad Benzing had help from his posts also throughout the first half. Freshman Jack Watson led the Lakers with four shots, with two of them hitting the posts and shooting back out towards the field. One shot was taken from 35 yards away, where Watson beat Benzing but he hit the post with 29 minutes left in the first.
At the 54th minute of the match, Watson finally found the back of the net to give his team the 1-0 lead. Junior Fernando Martinez started the play by sending a through ball to freshman Danny Deakin to the far left corner of the field. Deakin sent in the through ball which Watson picked up on the right side of the net. Watson redirected the ball but the posts would get in the way of the freshman's goal. Watson picked up his own rebound and shot the ball behind Benzing, who was already scrambling on the ground from the previous shot.
Just 12 minutes later, Martinez tallied a goal of his own to give the Lakers the 2-0 edge. This time freshman Joseph Korb set up Martinez to pick up his third assist of the season. Martinez shot the ball across the net, beating Benzing to the top left corner of the net.
The third unanswered goal was tallied by Korb at the 82nd minute after Korb chipped the ball past Benzing. Graduate student Gregory John Andrews tallied the assist.
Millersville gave a last minute rush and took away the shutout by scoring in the 84th minute to slice the lead 3-1. Jeramey Robbins gave two fighting efforts towards Mercyhurst goalie Mikko Sarkkinen. Sarkkinen made a diving save in the previous rush, but Robbins found a way past Sarkkinen the second time to score his seventh goal of the season.
Despite the last minute rush, the defense of the Mercyhurst Lakers did not give in and kept control of the 3-1 victory. Overall, the Lakers outshot Millersville 20 to nine throughout the 90 minutes. Mercyhurst mustered six shots on net while the Marauders shot four. Mercyhurst also out cornered the Marauders 7-2, with all seven corner kicks taking place in the second half.
Sarkkinen made three saves and allowed one goal to improve to 10-4-0 in the season. Benzing (9-4-1) who allowed just one goal against the Lakers earlier in the year saw his season come to an end after allowing three goals.