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Bearcats comeback falls just short in Conf semis

Stony Brook, NY—  Second seeded Binghamton (7-8) fell in the semifinals of the America East tournament to third seed UMBC (8-6), 16-10 on Thursday evening from LaValle Stadium on the campus of Stony Brook University. Senior Michael Antinozzi tallied a season-high four goals and fellow classmate Matt Springer added two goals and an assist in the loss.

UMBC started off on the right foot on Thursday evening, jumping ahead 4-0 in the opening six-plus minutes of action in the first semifinals matchup from LaValle Stadium. The Retrievers had four different goal scorers as Matt Gregoire tallied a goal and two assists during the opening flurry. The Retreivers forced Binghamton to call their first timeout of the day at the 8:45 mark in the first.

Following the timeout, Antinozzi ended UMBC’s 4-0 start with a long range bouncing shot that beat UMBC goalie Connor Gordon. However, UMBC responded by netting two more goals to jump ahead 6-1 after the first 15 minutes of action.

Antinozzi ripped his second score from 12 yards out on the feed from Mitchell Rick to pull the Bearcats to within four, 6-2, with 13:46 left in the half. Later in the second, with the score at 7-2, Binghamton drew another man-up opportunity for themselves. It was Antinozzi once again supplying the damage, he sent a bouncing shot on the run that rattled the top of the cage and into the back of the net for his 22nd goal of the season.

Paul O’Donnell notched his 18th goal of the year at the 4:08 mark, but the Bearcats still trailed 8-4 heading to the break from LaValle Stadium.  UMBC held a 23-10 shot advantage at half and won the battle at the faceoff ‘x’ winning 12-of-14.

The Bearcats tallied the first goal of the second half on Kelly Donigan’s dodge and righty score from around eight yards out, pulling Binghamton to within three. After UMBC went ahead 9-5 on Pat Young’s unassisted goal, O’Donnell laced a 10 yard shot past Gordon on the man-up. O’Donnell was assisted by Brandon Planck on the extra-man opportunity.

Senior Matt Springer did his best to pull the second seeded Bearcats closer, he notched a pair of goals late in the third to make the score 10-8 in favor of UMBC.

In the fourth, Mitchell Rick closed the gap even tighter with his dodge and running score that made the deficit just one with right around 12 minutes remaining. The Retrievers, however, tallied back-to-back goals from Gregoire to hold a 12-9 advantage midway through the fourth.

From there, UMBC held on in the final minutes of the game adding a few late goals to secure a 16-10 victory and advancing to the America East Championship game for the second straight year.

The Retrievers were led by Greogire’s four goals and three assists on Thursday. In addition, senior faceoff specialist Phil Poe won 24-of-30 faceoffs and had a game-high 16 ground balls in the victory.

Binghamton’s senior goalie Max Schefler finished the game with 12 saves and finished out 2014 with a record of 7-7 in net. Springer, who had two goals and an assist, completed his storied career with 133 goals and 154 points (both program records). Planck added a pair of assists and O’Donnell tallied three points in the semifinals loss.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)

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