Salisbury gains Div. III final

Creighton's OT goal extends Gulls' streak to 69

Cortland State up next

Salisbury 13 Roanoke 12

May 22, 2006|By TODD KARPOVICH | TODD KARPOVICH,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SALISBURY -- Top-ranked Salisbury's three-year winning streak and bid for its fourth straight national title were in jeopardy as No. 2 Roanoke erased a six-goal third-quarter deficit to force overtime in the Division III men's semifinal at Sea Gull Stadium.

However, Jimmy Creighton's unassisted goal 2:01 into overtime allowed the Sea Gulls to escape with a 13-12 win. They will now face Cortland State on Sunday in Philadelphia for the title.

"I am pretty ecstatic right now because we are going back to the big show," Creighton said. "I just kept working my defender and no one slid, so I just ripped one over my shoulder. We know how to play in the big games so everyone was confident going into overtime."

Each week, the only mention of Salisbury's winning streak, the longest in any college sport in the nation, now at 69 games, is a sign in the locker room hung by coach Jim Berkman announcing the number. He said the players were confident and were not even thinking about the end of their season going into overtime.

Mike Hurley led Salisbury (20-0) with four goals and Dan Boyer (Mount St. Joseph) added three for the Sea Gulls.

"Our guys just wanted to go to Philadelphia. That is why you play. You want to go to the championship," said Berkman, who is in his 18th year as the Sea Gulls' head coach. "We had a couple of tough breaks and turned the ball over, which is uncharacteristic of us when we are trying to keep possession. Give [Roanoke] credit because they came to win. A lot of teams don't come to get us. They did and they did it well."

Salisbury reached the semifinals by beating rival Washington College, 8-4, in a hard-fought defensive battle. Roanoke, however, prefers to attack its opponents and get into a shootout.

The Sea Gulls tried to counter the Maroons' aggressive style by playing tight man-to-man defense and by using a more patient, balanced offense.

Salisbury displayed that versatility on offense with eight players scoring. After a tight first half, the Sea Gulls appeared to be running away with the game by scoring the first three goals of the third quarter. A goal by Mike Edwards (Calvert Hall) with 3:49 left in the third period gave the Sea Gulls an 11-5 lead, but Roanoke answered with three late goals.

The Maroons (15-3) mounted a spirited comeback in the fourth quarter with goals by Brendan Moore and Zack Thomas (St. Paul's) that cut Salisbury's lead to 12-10 with 4:35 left in the game. Chris Keating cut the lead to 12-11 with 1:59 left and then tied the game with 15.6 left.

Roanoke outshot the Sea Gulls 44-37 but Salisbury won 17 out of 28 faceoffs.

"We have always played them tough," Maroons coach Bill Pilat said. "They're No. 1 and we think we are No. 1-A."

Roanoke 0 4 4 4 0 - 12

Salisbury 2 3 7 0 1 - 13

Goals: R-Thomas 3, Carlson 2, Keating 2, Pattison 2, Ariosa, Mason, Moore; S-Hurley 4, Boyer 3, Baggan, Berkman, Creighton, Edwards, Rohde, Yoder. Assists: R-Carlson 2, Pattison 2, Hurley, Keating, Moore; S-Berkman 3, Creighton 2, Edwards 2, Rohde, Yoder. Saves: R-Madalon 15; S-Zarchin 12. A: 1,301.

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