Mount St. Joe squeaks past Friends, 8-7 Spilker's goal wins it in OT, caps comeback

March 25, 1998|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Anyone who still thinks Mount St. Joseph padded its schedule by playing Friends School obviously never made it to yesterday's game.

And what a game it was.

Fourteenth-ranked Friends had the mighty Gaels on the ropes early but No. 12 Mount St. Joe refused to play the role of Goliath. The visiting Gaels rallied from third-quarter deficits of 5-1 and 6-2 before pulling out an 8-7 overtime victory.

Junior attackman Devan Spilker completed his hat trick by converting a feed from Josh Ferguson 70 seconds into the first four-minute sudden death.

The Gaels' Travis Wells sent the game into overtime by finishing a high pass from Spilker with 1: 46 left in regulation.

"We're a second-half team, but we have to get out on the field and start playing right off the bat," said Spilker. "We knew they are a well-coached team but we felt we could come in and beat them and not worry about it too much but obviously we were wrong."

The Gaels (3-1, 0-1) went up 1-0 early in the game on an unassisted goal by Ferguson before Brian Valle evened the score on an assist from Jake Martin.

Friends' deliberate offense frustrated the Gaels in the second quarter, but it was a pair of unassisted -- and highly improbable -- goals by Jamie Hubbard that helped give the Quakers a 4-1 advantage at the half.

"We got off the bus a little flat today and Friends did everything they had to do to win it," said Gaels coach Steve Szlasa. "That kid No. 7 [Hubbard] is as good of a player as we'll see all season and No. 42 [Valle] is a nice attackman."

After escaping its fourth man-down situation unscathed early in the third quarter, Friends (1-2) stretched its lead to four on a goal by senior midfielder Guy Furman.

Spilker cut the margin back to three when he threaded a severe-angle shot past Friends keeper Justin Sussman.

Furman answered 47 seconds later for Friends, but Eddie Murdock got the final say of the quarter, scoring to make it 6-3.

Rob Hardy scored an extra-man goal for St. Joe 1: 01 into the fourth quarter and Spilker chopped the lead to one with an unassisted goal with 10: 13 left.

Tom Kelly, fresh off the hockey season, leaped over a defender to score his first goal of the season and tie the game at 6.

"This was a big win for our program because we would have never heard the end of that if we lost to a B Conference team," said Szlasa. "I'm really relieved to get out of here with a win."

Pub Date: 3/25/98

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