Adam Winne joked that LIU Post’s dynasty will be etched into more places than just the history books.
“Fourth championship in a row. That’s going on my tombstone,” he said with a laugh.
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Perhaps it should also include a note about the dramatic saves he’s made of late. Winne came up with a stop with two seconds remaining Saturday as LIU Post held on after an intense final sequence to defeat NYIT, 12-11, in the ECC tournament championship game.
“Up one. Couple of seconds left. I need to preserve the lead for the championship,” Winne said. “The adrenaline just takes you through it. There’s no time to feel nervous.”
After one shot went high with 16 seconds left, and another went wide, NYIT’s Shawn Murphy took the reset with 8.6 seconds left and wrapped around the net where he was met by defenders. He fired a shot that was blocked by Winne, sealing the Pioneers’ fourth straight ECC championship.
“I looked up at the clock,” LIU Post coach John Jez said of the final sequence, “and thought it looked like it was the slowest 30 seconds in the world.”
Matt Bellando scored five goals and was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. He scored on a wraparound to give LIU Post an 11-9 lead with 14:08 remaining. Matty Beccaris then picked up a ground ball and fed Bellando, who scored a breakaway goal to increase the lead to 12-9 with 10:07 left.
“It just happened that today was my day to put the points up and I did what I had to do,” Bellando said. “It takes everyone out there. It’s not just my efforts. It’s everyone else helping me.”
Jeremy Morgan had three goals and an assist and Ryan Slane had two goals and an assist. Anthony Galeotafiore had six ground balls and won 10 faceoffs, and Ryan Stern had four ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Winne — who in the semifinal on Wednesday made a sprawling save with 2:12 remaining to protect a one-goal lead — finished with 15 saves.
NYIT goalie Alex Seltzer made 14 saves. He stopped one shot late in the third and sent an outlet pass downfield to Matthew Chanenchuk, who charged in for the goal to cut the lead to 10-9 with 7.9 seconds left in the quarter.
After Bellando opened the fourth with two goals, Nick Sidaris scored an unassisted goal with 3:22 remaining to pull NYIT within 12-10. An unnecessary roughness penalty on LIU Post gave NYIT an extra man and Sean Cleary capitalized with a goal to make it 12-11 with 1:06 left.
Cleary had three goals and Chanenchuk had two goals and three assists.
Both LIU Post (12-3) and NYIT (13-4) will learn if they qualified for an at-large bid in the Division II NCAA Tournament when selections are made Sunday night. Bellando likes his team’s chances of not only qualifying, but going as far as the championship game in Philadelphia.
“We just have to continue what we’re doing,” he said. “Play like a team, play with our energy, and we’ll hopefully carry it to Philly.”