Bryan Da Cruz scored in the second sudden-death overtime to give Niagara (13-1-4) a 1-0 upset over top-seeded Loyola (Md.) in the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s soccer tournament Saturday night in Poughkeepsie. The outcome ended an eight-game Loyola unbeaten streak and a five-game shutout streak Da Cruz drove to the net from the right wing and beat the Greyhounds’ goalie from 20 feet to the short side.
Three years ago Loyola, which has dominated Niagara through the years, defeated the Purple Eagles, 1-0, in double overtime in the 2009 MAAC championship game.
Niagara will find out its NCAA Tournament opponent Monday afternoon.
Elsewhere, Medaille’s men’s soccer season ended Saturday with a 2-0 loss to Rutgers-Camden in the first round of the NCAA Division III championships in York, Pa.
Mike Ryan scored at 6:41 to give the Raptors the early lead. Mitch Grotti completed the scoring with a goal off a free kick that went in off the crossbar at 59:42. The Raptors controlled play most of the game, outshooting Medaille (22-11). Senior goalie Nick Kurtz of the Mavericks had six saves. Mike Randall of Rutgers-Camden had four stops.
Junior Pablo Ordonez was Medaille’s most effective offensive player with five shots, three on goal.
MEN’S HOCKEY: Patrick Sullivan twice, including the game winner, and assisted on goal another as quick-striking Canisius defeated RIT, 6-3, in Rochester in Atlantic Hockey.
Sullivan assisted on a goal by Kyle Gibbons, which came only 12 seconds into the openiing period. It was the quickest goal in Canisius hockey history. After RIT tied it, Sullivan scored after 26 seconds of the second period to put the Griffs in front again. Sullivan’s second goal at 7:28 of the third period snapped a 3-3 tie. Canisius (2-5-3) scored twice in the last 1:24 to end a seven-game (0-4-3) winless streak.
Niagara scored twice in the first period and stayed unbeaten in Atlantic Hockey Association play with a 4-1 victory over Army at Tate Rink in West Point. The Purples Eagles improved to 5-0-0 in AHA games and 6-2-3 overall while extending their unbeaten streak to seven straight games (5-0-2).
Niagara goalie Carsen Chubak continues to lead the country in save percentage and shutouts. He made 30 saves, setting the NU record for consecutive scoreless minutes (258:32) before Army scored late in the third period.
Michael Benedict scored twice and Ryan Murphy and Jeff Hannan once each for the Purple Eagles.