The 2012 CWPA Eastern Championships began on Friday at Princeton, and the first game nearly saw a historic upset. No. 1 South seeded Bucknell nearly lost to No. 4 North seeded Harvard, but Bucknell was able to pull away late, and win 15-13. Had Bucknell lost it would have been the first time in the history of the Eastern championships that a No. 1 seed lost in the first round.
Bucknell was led by Alex Nowlin who scored four goals in their 15-13 win over Harvard. This game was looking like an easy win for Bucknell as the raced out to lead 4-0, but Harvard made a game of it and trailed 6-4 after the first quarte.r
The scoring continued, but it leaned toward Harvard who led 11-9 late in the third quarter. At that point, it looked like the upset was possibly going to happen.
The Bucknell offense proceeded to go on a 6-2 run and reached the semifinals at Easterns for the first time since 2010. Harvard had plenty of chances in this game, they had eight power play chances, but they only converted on two of those.
The second game of the day was between host Princeton, and No. 3 seed from the South, went up against No. 2 seed Brown. This game could have been slated for a possible title match, but the divisional rounds did not end up as the seeds indicated, so these two ranked teams faced off earlier than expected.
Princeton was able to win 10-7, and this game would be the only upset of the day. Senior Tim Wenzlau led Princeton with four goals Friday afternoon. This was a very physical game as the two squads combined for two yellow cards, 24 ejections and two misconducts for violence.
The two teams were evenly matched for most of the game, but the game turned in Princeton's favor when Brown's James McNamara earned his third exclusion of the game, which also was a game misconduct. At the time of the foul, Princeton was leading 5-4, but they increased their lead by two goals when Kurt Buchbinder scored with about a minute left in the first half.
Princeton extended their lead to three goals as they outscored Brown 2-1 in the third quarter. The final frame saw both teams each score two goals. The man advantages were the difference in Princeton getting the win, they converted 6 of 16, while Brown was 50 percent by making 4 of 8. Had Princeton been more accurate they could have blown out Brown.
The third game saw Navy take on St. Francis, and this game had the largest margin of victory at 14-10, in favor of St. Francis. The Terriers have been playing extremely well as of late, and have hit their stride at the right time. Navy had no answer for Marko Gencic who scored seven goals on Friday.
This was a game of two halves, Navy held a 7-4 halftime lead, but St. Francis outscored Navy 10-3 in a dominant second half performance. Gencic started the second half by scoring the first two goals to make it a 7-6 deficit for St. Francis, but Navy responded to make it a two-goal game again.
Gencic scored St. Francis' third straight goal of the third quarter on a 5-meter penalty shot, but once again the Midshipmen responded to back up by two goals. St. Francis finally tied the game by scoring consecutive man-up goals, one at the end of the third, and the other at the start of the fourth.
From then on out, it was all St. Francis as they outscored Navy 6-1 in the fourth quarter to win by four goals. Once again, power played a key roll in this matchup. Navy was just 4 of 14, and that did them in against St. Francis.
In the final game, Mercyhurst continued their amazing post season run by defeating MIT, 6-5. The win was not an upset by any means as Mercyhurst defeated MIT earlier in the year. Goalie Matt Cote for Mercyhurst was the player of the game as he notched 15 saves and had two steals. This was a back and forth game, and the key goal in the game came on a Mercyhurst power play with just under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Eduardo Chavez made a skip shot to give Mercyhurst a two-goal edge. MIT would respond to cut into the lead, but Cote was able to hold off MIT from tying the game.