LEWISBURG, Pa. -- John Preis scored the game-winner with 1:34 on the clock in the fourth period on a man-up chance to complete a hat-trick and cap a 7-6 comeback victory for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over Fordham University in the CWPA Eastern Championship seventh place game at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.
It marks MIT's fourth seventh place finish as the six-time Eastern Championship qualifier previously placed eighth (2004), seventh (2006, 2008, 2009) and sixth (2003) in the tournament field. In addition, the victory improves the Engineers to 4-14 all-time at the championship with victories over Iona College (9-8 W, 2009 ; 10-9 W, 2008), Bucknell (9-6 W, 2003) and Fordham.
Trailing 6-4 entering the fourth period, the Engineers took over command of the contest over the final eight minutes outscoring the Rams to rally back and take the victory.
Brian Gardiner opened MIT's sprint to the finish by nailing a shot at 5:01 before Matt Chapa knotted the game at six-all wtih a blast from the wings at 3:22. Preis finished out the scoring with his decider at 1:34 following an ejection at 1:51 to put MIT in front for the first time since a 2-1 lead with 1:34 left in the first period.
In cage, Columbus Leonard recorded 11 saves to earn the victory, while Christian Flessner was the hard-luck loser with eight stops.
Playing without Ali Arat and Victor Batista-Medina who were sitting out the contest following a red card and flagrant foul, respectively, versus Johns Hopkins Univeristy in an 11-8 loss on Saturday afternoon, Fordham did not appear to be primed to take the victory in the opening minutes of the game.
MIT opened the game the way the squad ended it by dominating the offensive end of the tank as Preis connected on a marker at 5:28 and buried a 6-on-5 chance at 4:21 to stake the Engineers to a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into regulation.
Fordham clawed its way back into the game before the end of the period as Ryan Hultman dented the iron with a man-up shot at 1:34. Daniel Munoz netted the equalizer with 42 seconds on the clock to make it 2-2 through eight minutes of action.
The teams exchanged tallies to open the second period with Robert Fleming finding the net at 7:33 before Gardiner responded for the Engineers at 6:52 to keep the game tied at 3-3.
However, Fordham controlled the pace and style of the game for the remainder of the half as Ricky Dilday and Alex Powell connected on natural markers at 1:50 and 47 seconds, respectively, to give the Rams a 5-3 lead at the break.
Needing a run to put the Engineers away for good, Fordham managed a goal from Hultman at 4:38. However, Gardiner answered for MIT wtih a scoring shot of his own with 53 seconds remaining in the third period to ignite a 4-0 advantage in goals over the final 8:53 of competition.
MIT closed the year at 13-12, while the Rams wrap-up the season at 16-17, as the Engineers and Rams tied during the season-series with MIT taking two victories (13-10 W, 7-6 W) and Fordham picking up a pair (8-7 W, 9-8 W).
Courtesy of Collegiate Water Polo Association