Shoremen keep playoff hopes alive with 9-8 win at Ursinus

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. — The Shoremen’s playoff fate hinges on their final game of the regular season next weekend.

With a 9-8 win Saturday at Centennial Conference foe Ursinus, Washington locked into a three-way tie for fifth in the league — and one win out of fourth.

The top five teams will advance to the CC tournament that begins April 30.

Haverford (7-8), Ursinus (7-8) and Washington (5-10) all sit at 3-4 in the conference.

Right above them is No. 19-ranked Gettysburg at 4-3.

In a fortuitous bit of scheduling, Washington closes out the regular season at home against Gettysburg (8-6) on April 27.

The Bullets will not have played since their 12-8 loss at two-time defending conference champion Dickinson on April 17.

The Shoremen are aiming to get back in the CC tournament for the first time since 2015.
 
John Nostrant is in his third year as head coach at alma mater Washington.
 
“This is a process and the guys are getting better because they are working harder and figuring out what it takes to play in the Centennial Conference,” Nostrant told The Evening Enterprise in an email Sunday.
 
“We still have work to do for sure but we have found out that when you compete hard good things tend to happen,” he added.
 
Nostrant said goalie Will Charvala has improved, face-off specialists Gabe Velasquez and Owen Boone and the wings have gotten more possessions, and the Shoremen have stayed out of the penalty box.
 
“Hope we continue to play better,” he wrote in the email.

The Shoremen kept their playoff hopes alive with Saturday’s win at Ursinus — their second one-goal win against a conference opponent in four days, and their first in the series with Ursinus since 2018.

After spotting Ursinus a 2-0 lead about two minutes in, Washington scored the next four goals in a run that bridged the first and second quarters.

Connor Garrison’s goal just 32 seconds into the second quarter broke a 2-2 tie, and the Shoremen never trailed the rest of the way.

They took a 4-3 lead into the locker room.

Ursinus knotted the score at 4-apiece on Barrett Denlinger’s goal about five and a half minutes into the second half.

Washington netted the next three goals — Garrison, Grant Matthews and Cam Carrigan in succession — to take its largest led of the game at that point, 7-4, with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Cory Morgan restored the three-goal spread, 8-5, with just 8 seconds to go in the third quarter, but Ursinus won the ensuing face-off and Scott Sloan found Nick Fareno as the horn sounded to make things interesting with 15 minutes to play.

The Bears won the face-off to start the fourth quarter, but turned over the ball.

Washington converted at the other end on its first possession and first shot of the final quarter. Matthews found Carrigan for what would hold up as the winning goal with 1:55 elapsed in the quarter.

The Shoremen, nursing a 9-6 lead, went 0-for-11 in shots the rest of the way.

Ursinus closed to within one, 9-8, with 6:45 remaining on goals from Harry Sweitzer and Sloan three minutes apart. Christopher Pucciarelli assisted on both.

The Bears had two chances to tie in the final 7 seconds, but Pucciarelli’s shot hit the post and Sweitzer’s shot at the buzzer was turned away by Charvala.

Charvala finished with 11 saves.

Garrison (29-7-36) and Carrigan (19-8-27) each had three goals from attack; Garrison leads the Shoremen in goals and points.

Morgan contributed two goals and Matthews, who assisted three times, had the other Washington goal.

Velasquez won seven of 13 face-offs and scooped up four ground balls.

Michael Nickerson, a senior defenseman from Worton, was credited with two caused turnovers.

Sweitzer (two goals, assist) and Pucciarelli (goal, two assists) each had three points for the Bears.

What’s next: Washington hosts Gettysburg at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27 in the final game of the regular season for both schools. It’s also Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium in Chestertown.

Also on Saturday, with the playoff field in the balance, Ursinus will face off at No. 7 Dickinson (6-1 CC, 13-2) and Haverford will travel to No. 6 Swarthmore (7-0 CC, 13-1.).

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