A late run by No. 1 Arizona State was not enough to defeat No. 2 Colorado in the 2014 MCLA Division I national championship game, as the Buffs captured their first title in a 13-12 win over the previously undefeated Sun Devils. Led by tournament MVP Riley Seidel’s six points, Colorado broke open a 5-5 halftime tie to lead 13-8 early in the fourth before ASU’s comeback attempt.
Seidel scored the first goal of the game after tipping a pass during an ASU clear, getting the ground ball himself and finishing as the goalie rushed back to the cage. The Sun Devils responded with a Adam Beauchamp goal, and the teams then traded goals leading to a 2-2 tie with just under eight minutes remaining in the first.
Colorado scored the next two goals, one from Mitch Erickson with 3:13 left in the first quarter and another from Greg Kelsic almost two minutes into the second. That goal was created by Tyler Dougherty, who reached into the crease to pull out a rebound from a previous Buffs shot, allowing Kelsic to scoop the ball and put it in the back of the net. Dan Davis of ASU then scored his first of the game off a Cooper Pickell feed, but Seidel drove around right handed from behind the cage to give the two-goal lead back to the Buffs. The next two goals were by the Sun Devils, with tallies by Adam Beauchamp with 5:26 left in the half and Logan Quinn with only 15 seconds in the half.
The second half started the same way the first did, as Seidel scored his third of the game, this time coming from behind the cage with his left hand. Colorado also scored the next two goals – on a Ryan Stoll dodge down the right alley and another Seidel score again originating from behind the cage – to increase the lead to 8-5.
The Sun Devils answered with two of their own to tie the game, but Jack Cranston, the hometown hero who led the Buffs in the semifinals, scored with just over five minutes left in the third to regain the lead. This goal was the first of a 4-1 Colorado run that ended the quarter with the Buffs ahead 12-8, as Davis scored again for ASU between multiple Colorado goals. The last of that run was produced by a great finalizer move from Seidel behind the net, out of which he fed Cranston for righty rip from up top.
In the fourth quarter, the pace seemed to slow down as each team only scored once in the first 11 minutes of the final frame. Jace Gan scored for Colorado on a perfect shot from the left wing that found its way to the top left corner of the net with 9:42 left in the game, and Justin Straker of ASU scored after a long Sun Devil possession with 4:10 remaining.
Davis then scored two goals 26 seconds apart, both assisted by Straker, to cut the Colorado lead to two with just over three minutes left to play. After a long possession by the Buffs where they ran out most of the clock, Arizona State finally got the ball back and was able to score with 16 seconds left on the clock with Davis’s fifth of the game.
On the final face-off, ASU initially won the draw but were called for a violation, giving the ball back to Colorado. The Buffs ran off the remaining time on the clock to win the championship.
“We played a great team in Arizona State,” Colorado head coach John Galvan said after the game. “Chris Malone and his group, they’re a great program, a great team. We had to work hard to get here and I think all the guys banded together and we played very well today.”
Seidel praised his teammates, saying “I couldn’t be more proud of all the guys on this team. It took all of us, it was a team effort. Everyone had a part in this.”
Ending with a statement that reflects the true heart of this league, Seidel nostalgically spoke of this being his final game: ”This is the last time stepping on the field for me and it’s been a long road. You don’t play this game in the MCLA unless you love the game, and each and every one of these guys on the team loves the game.”
(This article was also published on MCLA.us)