MEDFORD – In a match-up of the top two offenses in the NESCAC, junior Emily Games netted the game-winning goal off a free-position shot to guide No. 5 Tufts to a thrilling 14-13 overtime victory over No. 13 Bowdoin College in the regular-season finale at Bello Field on Wednesday night.
The Jumbos earned the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Tournament and will host seventh-seeded Trinity on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The Polar Bears will enter NESCAC's as the No. 5 seed and will travel to fourth-seeded Amherst on Saturday.
|Emiliy Games netted five goals, including the game-winner in OT.|
With the win, Tufts improves to 14-1 overall and 9-1 in NESCAC action. Following the loss, Bowdoin falls to 9-6 overall and 5-5 in conference play. The Jumbos have now won five of the past six meetings between the teams dating back to 2014. There were six lead changes in tonight's game and eight ties.
With the game tied at 13-13 and heading into overtime after a game-tying goal from Adamec, she opened overtime by winning the draw control to give the Jumbos possession. After a few Polar Bear fouls, the NESCAC leader in free-position goals Games had a chance off a free-position shot and buried it with 1:31 remaining in overtime to give the Jumbos the thrilling 14-13 victory.
The Jumbos opened the game by winning the first draw control and senior Annie Sullivan scored less than 30 seconds into the contest. The Polar Bears then marched down 12 seconds later and junior Morgan Pinado netted a goal to tie the game. Tufts junior Maddie Norman won the ensuing draw control and Adamec scored to give the Jumbos a one-goal edge less than two minutes into the game. Polar Bear junior Elizabeth Growney then had a great chance to even the score, but senior Audrey Evers recorded a save. Growney came back a few possessions later and beat Evers to tie the game at 2-2. Then, within the next two minutes, Adamec and sophomore Eliza Denious traded goals in the back-and-forth contest.
Norman then had a good look at goal, but Bowdoin senior goalie Erin Morrissey denied her shot. Over the next five minutes, there was only one shot on goal per side, which came off the sticks of Tufts senior Courtney Grygiel and Bowdoin first-year Fiona Bundy. Denious scored the game's next two goals within a minute of one another to give Bowdoin a 5-3 lead. Games cut the lead to one with a goal of her own. Bowdoin sophomore Amanda Anderson responded with a goal to push the lead back to two goals (6-4). Anderson then had a good chance in front of the net, but Evers stopped the shot.
The Jumbos' offense then stepped up and scored three unanswered goals within a three-minute span to take a 7-6 lead. The three goals during the run came from Games off a free-position shot, senior Cecily Freliech off a nice pass from first-year Kathryn Delaney, and Adamec. Evers stopped two shots during the stretch and the Jumbo defense pinched in to make life difficult for the Polar Bears. Anderson ended the Jumbos' run with a goal after a successful clear to tie the game back up. Sullivan and Bundy traded goals as it was an 8-8 game heading into halftime.
Bundy opened the second half right where she left off at the end of the first with a goal to give the Polar Bears the lead back. Denious then had a chance to extend the Polar Bear lead, but first-year goalie Molly Laliberty stopped the shot. Both defenses then set the tone as there were a combined three turnovers over the next five minutes and neither team got a great look on goal. Anderson netted the contest's next goal to give the Bears a two-goal edge (10-8). Laliberty then stepped up with a big save off a Denious free-position shot. Games scored the contest's next goal off a free-position shot to cut the lead to a goal with 19:57 remaining.
The Polar Bears responded with a pair of goals off the sticks of Bundy and Denious to give Bowdoin a three-goal edge at 12-9 with 15 minutes on the clock. Anderson had a chance to extend the lead to four, but again Laliberty made a crucial save on a free-position shot. Over the next eight minutes, both teams' defenses again wreaked havoc as there were a combined six turnovers and only two shots on goal. Those two shots came from Adamec and Freliech on free-position shots, but first-year Aaliyah Biondo recorded two big saves. Adamec wouldn't be denied again on a free-position shot as she scored to cut the deficit to two goals (12-10).
Tufts first-year Mae Briody then got a great pass from Adamec and buried it into the back of the cage to get the Jumbos within a goal of the lead. Games then came up with a crucial goal with 4:28 remaining to tie the contest at 12-12 and extend the Jumbo run to 3-0. Bowdoin sophomore Katie Miller, the Polar Bears' season-leading point scorer who was being marked all game by Tufts junior Lily Baldwin, was able to win the ensuing draw control for Bowdoin. Polar Bear junior Kara Finnerty then scored on that possession to give Bowdoin a one-goal edge (13-12). Adamec responded with a man-up goal as she ran through the Polar Bear defense with 0:58 remaining to tie the game at 13-13. Denious had a chance on Laliberty with 0:14 left, but the first-year made a crucial save on a low shot and the game was tied 13-13 heading to overtime.
Games then scored the game-winning goal off a free-position shot to give Tufts their first overtime victory since 2015.
The Jumbo offense was led by Games and Adamec each scored five goals and registered a combined 13 shots on goal. Sullivan had two goals for the Jumbos and scooped up two ground balls. Briody and Freilech each contributed a goal apiece. Norman won a game-high six draw controls. Senior defender Veith caused a game-high three turnovers. Evers and Laliberty each recorded six saves.
Denious led the Polar Bears with four goals and won a team-high four draw controls. Bundy and Anderson also recorded a hat-tricks, while Pinado, Growney, and Finnerty scored the other Bowdoin goals. Polar Bear senior Paige Brown scooped up a game-high four ground balls. Biondo recorded five saves for Bowdoin.
Written By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello