Patton Watkins makes 16 saves as Tufts edges Endicott in NCAA tournament
MEDFORD, Mass. -- In a dogfight of an NCAA championshp second-round game, senior goalie Patton Watkins made 16 saves as Tufts edged Endicott 10-9 on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon at Bello Field.
After the Jumbos scored to take a 4-2 lead early in the second quarter, the teams traded goals the rest of the way in dramatic back-and-forth action. Three goals each by senior Peter Bowers and junior Chris Schoenhut led Tufts, which improved to 18-2.
The Jumbos move on to the national quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive year. Endicott finishes its season at 15-5.
Tufts had handled Endicott relatively easily in an 18-13 final during the regular season. That would not be the case Saturday. The Gulls jumped out to a 2-0 advantage as leading scorer Harrison Cotter scored at 12:37 and at 3:32 of the first.
Turning on its high-power offense late in the first, Tufts scored three times in the final three minutes of the period. Two came out of Bowers' stick. The hosts would not trail again, but the Gulls would be right on their back all game.
Sophomore John Uppgren scored at 13:59 of the second quarter to give Tufts a 4-2 lead. Cotter netted his third of the game at 10:31 to close Endicott within 4-3. The teams alternated goals until halftime, with Schoenhut and Bowers scoring for the Jumbos and Kyle Weber and Colin Bannon tallying for Endicott. Tufts led 6-5 at the break.
Junior Cole Bailey scored the first goal of the second half to give Tufts a 7-5 lead. After Nick Pinciaro cut the margin to one again just 37 seconds later, Schoenhut scored for Tufts at 7:18, returning the margin to two (8-6). Both Pinciaro and Schoenhut would score again in the period and Tufts led 9-7 heading into the fourth.
Weber gave Endicott the early momentum with a goal at 13:27 of the fourth making it 9-8. Junior Peter Gill scored next to put Tufts up 10-8, but Jonathan Morgan answered for Endicott at 6:10 to send the game down the stretch at 10-9. Gulls sophomore goalie Cameron Ball made two of his 10 saves in the next few minutes to keep it a one-goal game.
Tufts was whistled for a penalty with just 2:10 remaining in the fourth. Endicott's Jeremy Morgan hit the post with a shot soon after. The Jumbos called timeout with 52 seconds remaining and were able to run out the clock. The Gulls were called for a penalty with 8 seconds remaining while they were forcing the Jumbos into a turnover, concluding the game with more drama.
Watkins had five saves in the second and third periods for Tufts. Senior Kane Delaney was also a defensive leader with two caused turnovers and four ground balls. Gill had a pair of goals in his return to the lineup after missing the past two games.
With the win, Tufts presented head coach Mike Daly with the 200th victory of his career. In his 16th season leading Tufts, Daly's teams are 200-78 for a stellar .719 winning percentage.
Cotter's three goals led Endicott, while Pinciaro scored two and assisted one. The Gulls got two caused turnovers from junior Ian Knechtle. Freshman Tommy Hughest won 12 of 21 face-offs.