BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Massachusetts Maritime Academy commenced NEWMAC play against a tough Babson College team and, after a close first half, finished with a 10-4 result that was a worthy improvement from previous seasons. Michael Sharry was a workhorse on face-offs and Cody Livermore scored a pair of goals for the Bucs.
The Beavers struck quickly to open the game, with Austin Fabel beating Michael Dolan at 1:25 into the game. Two minutes later, it was Owen Allen who scored, making it 2-0 Babson. Allen put in an incredible athletic display leading to the marker, weaving in and out of the defense in the circle for almost a minute before firing home.
Unlike in recent years, when the Bucs have lost to Babson by significant margins (15-3 in 2017, 16-5 in 2016, and 18-7 in 2015), the team pushed back and took advantage of Beaver mistakes. On the faceoff after Allen's goal, James Rovegno was whistled for a two-minute locked-in yellow card for unnecessary roughness and Maritime got to work.
Keaghan Bartley picked up a key groundball just after and sent the ball to playmaker Ted Powers, who circled around the D before finding Ben Avakian for the goal. On the faceoff, Sharry won the key groundball and after a good series of passes, Franklin Ragge dished to Cody Livermore to tie the game at
The next five minutes saw MMA take multiple good attempts and was unlucky not to score after another penalty on Babson. However, after an Avakian shot hit the post, the visitors picked the ball up and Mason O'Hanlon fired two shots at Dolan, with the second finding the net.
Babson kept the heat on in the final five minutes and, snatching a key turnover with seconds left, John Antaya raced in and found top Beaver attacker Samuel Mishkind for the buzzer-beating goal and the 4-2 lead.
After seeing MMA fire off seven shots, five on target in the first period, Babson pulled its keeper, Christopher Aranalde and turned the net over to Mac Mowat, providing a big boost for the visitors. The second quarter saw far more turnovers and it was 10 minutes in before Maritime finally scored. After a nice save by Dolan, Powers took a feed from Jack Moran and fired home for a 4-3 deficit.
Ninety seconds later, however, Allen struck again after a thirty second procedural technical on Powers, with O'Hanlon sending the ball his way. That was all for the half, though, which Babson entered winning 5-3.
As the game rolled over to the second half, both sides had plenty of chances, but multiple Buccaneer attacks were stymied by turnovers, as Babson's defense applied constant pressure. The first 10-plus minutes were scoreless, but after a Maritime turnover at 8:32, the Beavers pelted Dolan with shots for two-and-one-half minutes. Axel Brown finally beat him at 10:46 off a helper from O'Hanlon.
Another turnover two minutes later led to the second Babson goal of the third, this time from Ethan Carpenter at 13:05. Each side had a shot and a turnover before time ran out, and entering the final quarter, it was Babson 7, MMA 3.
The final goal of the third deflated the worn out Bucs, and the Beavers dominated most of the final quarter. Mishkind scored a brace in the first seven minutes, making it 9-3, but the hosts recovered a turnover and hurtled three bullets at Jordan Shapiro, the third keeper of the game for Babson. The last, by Livermore, was good, and with 6:46 left, Babson had a 9-4 lead.
Unfortunately, tired legs led to a pair of penalties on Maritime and Mishkind took advantage to make it 10-3 and put the game out-of-reach with five minutes left. Those last five, however, belonged entirely to the hosts. Marshall McCarthy forced a turnover at 13:02, and the final two minutes saw three consecutive lasers fired at Shapiro, but all went just over the net and the game ended 10-4.
"It's a different world compared to previous seasons," explained Maritime Head Coach Rick Bagby, who came to the Academy from Babson. "We had no chance in previous years as Babson played a tough early schedule and was always in the hunt for the NEWMAC championship.
"I told our guys at half-time, 'The first goal is key,' but they got the first, second, third," added Bagby. "We got good looks, however, unlike before. Cody had two and "Spike" [Mike Sharry] did a great job. He worked hard all game."
Sharry won 11-of-15 face-offs and picked up a team-high six groundballs. Maritime won 13-of-18 face-offs overall, but allowed Babson to clear the ball in all 22 times it attempted, making a huge difference.
"I thought we were creating enough pressure on them and forcing turnovers," pointed out MMA's coach. "Clearing is extremely important, as much as saving shots, and I say this as a goalkeeper myself. Michael played great between the pipes, but the team's clearing was not good enough against a tough team. Michael is our heart and soul, though, and did a great job minding the net."
MMA committed 19 turnovers compared to 11 for the visitors, while Dolan saved a solid 11 of 21 attempts. Babson took 39 shots in total, while the Bucs had 24, besting the visitors on groundballs, 24-22. No Beaver had more than two groundballs
Mishkind showed why he is one of the top attackers in the league, scoring four goals on seven shots, missing the goal only once. The total ran his season goal mark to a whopping 31 in nine games, while Mason O'Hanlon picked up a goal and two assists, making an even 20 points on the season.
Meanwhile, Livermore added two goals to his team-leading points total of 18, with 10 coming on assists. Avakian was held to only one goal, his team-leading 13th, giving him 16 points. Power had a goal and a helper, and now has 11 and 5 of each, respectively.
The Buccaneer men will take a week off from game action before travelling to MIT for April 7 NEWMAC matchup that starts at 1:15 p.m. In the meantime, bookmark www.mmabucs.com and get the inside scoop on Facebook and Twitter @mmabuccaneers.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate