(Photo via alongtheboards.com)
The Friars met their demise last Friday in Worcester, Massachusetts, as they fell to the Bulldogs of Minnesota, Duluth, by a final of 2-1. This is a major loss for the Friars as they were the reigning National Champions, yet they take a first round exit from the tournament this season. This game was one for the ages, however, as the teams went on a double overtime marathon.
This double overtime game was completely dominated by the Bulldogs as they out-shot the Friars 56-37. With a differential of 19 shots, it really is no surprise that the Friars took the loss. However, this also gives a lot of hope to the Friars for next season as their goalie Nick Ellis demonstrated that he could play big, even in big games. Ellis finished with 54 saves with many of those saves being very difficult to make. However, a loss is a loss, and this one hurts big time. Aside from the team taking an early exit this year, the Friars are also losing NINE seniors. This is a huge loss for the team as the men who are graduating were Coach Leaman’s first recruiting class and were major components of last year’s championship run. If the Friars want to have sustained success, Leaman will have to continue his excellent job of recruiting, and keep getting his team into the playoffs.
A season that started off with such great promise, reigning national champions, did not lose a game until after Christmas break, nine returning seniors, etc. It is really sad to see it end in such a disappointing way. However, with current freshmen like Erik Foley (Winnipeg Jets draft pick), Steven Ruggiero (Anaheim Ducks draft pick), Hayden Hawkey (Montreal Canadiens draft pick), and Vinny Desharnais, the future years promise to be exciting.
– K. Troy