No. 13 St. Francis Escapes Johns Hopkins 9-8 in CWPA Eastern Championship Opening Round

Igor Samardzjia
Igor Samardzjia

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Johns Hopkins University went to the wire against No. 13 St. Francis College tying the Terriers at 8-8 withh 5:14 left in the fourth period, but SFC managed a goal by Bosko Stankovic (Fr., Belgrade, Serbia/Sport Gymnasium) with 3:55 remaining to hold off the Blue Jays 9-8 in the opening round of the 2010 CWPA Eastern Championship at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.

St. Francis, which went undefeated against East Coast competition during the regular season and Northern Division postseason, had all they could handle against the only team West of the California-Nevada border at the CWPA Eastern Championship that the Terriers did not play this season.

Leading 5-4 at halftime, the Blue Jays saw their advantage turn into a 7-5 hole midway through the third period as Stefan Gencic (Sr., Belgrade, Serbia/Tenth HS Mihajlo Pupin) scored on a man-up chance at 6:28, Filip Sasic (Jr., Zagreb, Croatia/Titus Brezouazki) hammered in a natural goal at 4:50 and Alexandar Pantic (Jr., Belgrade, Serbia/Sport High School) netted a five-meter penalty shot at 4:02 to put the Terriers firmly in front.

The Blue Jays began to chip away at the deficit immediately as Kielan Crow (So., Portola Valley, Calif./Lick-Wilmerding) weaved through the Terriers' defense for a natural goal at 3:36 to inch within 7-6.  SFC's margin evaporated as the Terriers were burned by a breakaway goal by Alex Whittam (So., Hillsborough, Calif./Sacred Heart Prep) at 1:58 to knot the game at 7-to-7, but St. Francis went back in front with 24 ticks on the clock when Pantic beat the shot clock to go ahead 8-7.

Hopkins evened the board at 8-to-8 with 5:14 remaining in the fourth period when Whittam beat SFC goalie Igor Mladenovic (Fr., Belgrade, Serbia/Sportska Gimnazija) for an advantage goal.  However, the Terriers received the deciding strike by Stankovic with 3:55 on the clock for the 9-8 final score.

The game was tight throughout the 32 minutes of action as neither team was able to build a lead of more than two goals as the Blue Jays sought to shock the water polo world and put St. Francis into the consolation games on Saturday afternoon.

JHU took the early lead in the contest as Ross Schofield (So., Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) cashed in a man-up chance at 5:09 of the first period, but the Terriers responded with a natural goals by Marko Gencic (So., Belgrade, Serbia/Sports Gymnasium) at 3:55 and 2:03 sandwiched around a five-meter penalty shot by Stefan Gencic at 3:25 to go ahead 3-1.

Whittam closed the gap to a single marker by the end of the first period as he lobbed a shot over Mladenovic's head with 1:40 remaining in the frame.

St. Francis regained a two-goal lead just 2:52 into the second period as Stefan Gencic flipped in another marker at the 5:08 mark to make it 4-2.

However, the Blue Jays dominated the remainder of the half with a man-up (3:06) and even-strength (1:38) goals by Schofield to tie the game before Crow accepted a pass from Stephen Kingery (Fr., Moraga, Calif./Campolindo), turned and deposited a shot into the back of the cage to stake Hopkins to a 5-4 scoring advantage through a half of play.

Between the pipes, Mladenovic turned aside eight shots to pick up the victory.  For Hopkins, Jeremy Selbst (Sr., Old Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich), who played the game with a broken nose suffered at the Southern Division Championship, turned aside 10 shots to keep his team in the game.

St. Francis, the Northern Division champion, advances to a 6:00 p.m. showdown with either Fordham University or No. 18 Bucknell in the championship semifinals on Saturday, November 20.  The Terriers faced both squads this year, downing the Bison (9-5 W) and the Rams (19-7 W, 11-7 W, 14-5 W).

Southern Division third place finisher Johns Hopkins will meet the loser of a Bucknell-Fordham first round game at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday with a berth in the fifth place game on the line.  The Blue Jays are 2-1 against Fordham (11-10 W, 8-5 L, 9-6 W) and 2-0 against Bucknell (13-12 W, 12-11 W).

1 2 3 4 -- Final
Johns Hopkins University 2 3 2 1 -- 8
No. 13 St. Francis College 3 1 4 1 -- 9

SFC Goals: Stefan Gencic (3), Marco Gencic (2), Alexander Pantic (2), Filip Sasic, Bosko Stankovic

JHU Goals: Alex Whittam (3), Ross Schofield (3), Kielan Crow (2),

Saves: SFC - Igor Mladenovic (8) ; JHU - Jeremy Selbst (10)

Exclusions: SFC - 8 ; JHU - 10

Advantage Opportunities:  SFC - 3-for-10 ; JHU - 2-for-8

Cards: YC - Igor Samardzija (Head Coach, SFC)

Officials: Michael Goldenberg, Eddie Ajuz 


Ross Schofield defends against SFC's Alexandar Pantic

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