Senior defenseman Howard Bates (Philadelphia, Pa / Father Judge HS) ripped home a slapshot with 8:23 remaining in regulation to keep Alvernia in the DVCHC playoff picture. Bates' late goal proved the game winner as the Crusaders defeated Richard Stockton College of New Jersey 4-2 in the quarterfinal round. The Vern, playing in the single elimination tournament will move forward to face West Chester University in the semi-final round on Sunday afternoon.
The Crusaders jumped to a 2-0 lead, scoring goals back-to-back in the second period after playing a tight scoreless opening period. Alvernia goaltender Mike Restuccia kept Alvernia in the game with key saves allowing the Vern offense to find some separation.
Senior Josh Cohen (Pottstown, Pa / Coventry Christian HS) was credited with the first goal, while senior Eric Ryan (Aston, Pa / Sun Valley HS) collected the second lamplighter just minutes later. Ryan's tally involved some crafty maneuvering through the neutral zone, splitting the Stockton defenseman cleanly while finding daylight between the circles he snapped a hard wrist shot over the high glove side. Vintage Eric Ryan, the goal was a demonstration of every element of his game. Ryan changes gears so quickly it opens up skating lanes most wouldn't penetrate, all the while keeping a magnetic like force between his stick and puck. A potential highlight reel with every offensive rush he finished in grand fashion.
Alvernia gave up a goal just before heading into the intermission and held a slim 2-1 lead. The third period was intense and the first ten minutes remained scoreless until Stockton cashed in a power play opportunity to tie the score. The Crusaders ratcheted up the defense and began a sustained attack which lead to Bates' go ahead goal less than two minutes after surrendering the lead.
Christian Baron (Philadelphia, Pa / LaSalle College HS) gave the Vern some breathing room sealing the game with an unassisted goal and two-goal lead. Baron's relentless offensive zone corner work paid off as he came out off the half boards with the loose puck and found room inside the short side post and netminder's pad. Alvernia received another excellent effort from freshman Lucien Staquet (Downingtown, Pa / Downingtown West HS). Playing his best hockey down the home stretch, Staquet has been a main stay on the Crusader penalty kill unit. An excellent two-way player, he has been wreaking havoc for opposing break outs, a virtual turnover machine creating numerous scoring opportunities.
The Vern will now face a tough West Chester University Golden Ram squad in the semi-finals tomorrow at noon.