A come-from-behind, 3-2 victory by Towson yesterday over a seemingly superior force, two-time defending champion SUNY-Buffalo, earned the Tigers a spot against Navy in today's Crab Pot hockey tournament final at the Mids' Dahlgren Hall.
Navy won its semifinal with Coast Guard, 6-2, and will be seeking its eighth title in the 22-year-old tourney. Towson will be bidding for its first championship.
Trailing 2-1 after giving up a short-handed goal in the last minute of the second period, Towson threatened, but couldn't get even until Sean Cady hit after rebounding a missed shot with 6: 20 left in the game.
Buffalo goalie Brian Toutman, who ended up with 34 saves, was nearly impossible to beat until then.
With just 41 seconds remaining in regulation, Cady came through again, assisting on a 25-foot slap shot by Brett Kehler that found its way just under the crossbar.
After the teams played on even terms through the first 20 minutes, Buffalo's speed began to make a difference. Wil Crossetta put the New York team ahead at the 4: 07 mark, though Toby Heusser tied it for Towson at 17: 21.
The Tigers then got lackadaisical on a power play and Chris Sichak made them pay by winning a battle in the corner and beating goalie Derek Rabold from in close.
Navy got power-play goals from Andy Lillis and Pat Eliason in the first period and Coast Guard never was able to recover.
A five-minute major penalty for kicking, accompanied by an ejection, and two other penalties put the Cutters a man down during almost half of the first period. Worse, it limited the visitors to just a dozen skaters for the remainder of the game.
Coast Guard drew to within a goal twice in the second period, Luke Davignon scoring both times, but two goals in the last minute of the period provided Navy with breathing room.
Both Lillis and Eliason picked up their second scores in the session, Jimmy Maher scored and Lillis got the hat trick in the third period, closing out the scoring.
Coast Guard was hit with 32 minutes in penalties and two ejections, and if it hadn't been for Chris Nolan's 39-save effort in goal, the Mids might have scored a dozen. Blake Henke made 23 saves for Navy.
Pub Date: 2/07/99