Rufo Ties Career High With 5 Goals in Royals' 17-13 Victory Over The Merchant Marine Academy in Landmark Opener Saturday
BAYVILLE, N.Y.—Junior midfielder Mike Rufo (Broomall, Pa./Haverford School) tied his career-high with five goals, including three in the second half, as The University of Scranton downed the Merchant Marine Academy, 17-13, in the Landmark Conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon.
The Royals also received three goals from sophomore midfielder Dillon McInerney (Hawthorne, N.J./Bergen Catholic) and junior attacker Daniel Slade (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) and two from sophomore attacker Taylor Nelson (Chester Springs, Pa./Downingtown East) to snap a two-game losing skid and improved to 5-4 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
Junior attacker Sean Zakow (South Huntington, N.Y./Walt Whitman) led the Mariners, now 4-7 overall and 0-1 in the Landmark, with five goals and two assists and senior attacker Zach Gray (Scituate, Mass./BC High) finished with five goals and an assist.
Scranton, which held a 39-32 advantage in shots and a 36-21 margin in ground balls, broke away from a 2-2 first-period tie by out-scoring the Mariners, 9-3, in the second stanza to take an 11-5 lead by intermission. The Royals got a goal from five different players in the final eight minutes of the first half.
The Mariners chipped away at the Royal lead throughout the third and much of the fourth period, cutting the gap to 13-11, before Slade scored on a play set up by sophomore goalie Ben Worthington (Jenkintown, Pa./Archbishop Wood) with 5:42 remaining. Rufo, McInerney and Taylor then turned the momentum completely in Scranton's favor by scored a goal apiece during a 38-second span to extend the Royals' lead to five, 17-12, with 1:59 left.
Worthington finished with eight saves in 30 minutes of action in the second half. Senior Jeremy Dowiak (Hackettstown, N.J./West Morris) played the first half in goal for Scranton and had five saves. Freshmen Shawn Kane (Duluth, Ga./Great Atlanta Christian) and Pat Sullivan (Shoreham, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) split time evenly in goal for the Mariners and combined to make 12 saves.
Senior specialist Patrick Cefalu (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) dominated the face-offs by winning 26 of 32 attempts (.813). For the season, Cefalu is now 129 of 199 (.648).
Today's win was the first by Scranton over the Merchant Marine Academy since an 8-6 victory on March 29, 2008, at Fitzpatrick Field. It was also the Royals' first Landmark Conference season-opening win since a 17-3 victory over Susquehanna on March 21, 2009.
Rufo's two previous five-goal performances came in a 12-5 victory over then 12th-ranked Ithaca College on March 2, 2010, and in an 8-7 win over Marywood University on April 14, 2010, at Pacer Field in Scranton.
The Royals will return to action this Tuesday, April 5, against St. John Fisher College at Fitzpatrick Field beginning at 4:00 p.m.
News & Notes: Scranton's 17 goals were a season-high and the most since scoring 18 against Penn State-Abington on April 24, 2010, at Fitzpatrick Field…the Royals also received two assists apiece from senior midfielder Keenan Dowd (Binghamton, N.Y./Seton Catholic) and McInerney…the all-time series between Scranton and the Merchant Marine Academy is now tied at 5-5.