The St. Francis Terriers, two-time defending champions of the Northeast Conference, remained unbeaten in their quest for a third consecutive crown Wednesday evening, topping visiting Lafayette, 1-0, on Vincent Bezecourt’s clutch goal early in the second overtime at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Bezecourt accepted a pass from fellow senior John Makaya from about 20 yards out, and lofted a perfect shot over Leopards netminder Bard Seeber just 59 seconds into the second OT stanza.
The game-winning goal helped the Terriers improve to 3-0-1 on the season as senior goalkeeper Jack Binks recorded his third shutout of the year with three saves.
“I shot it and I had a great feeling it was going in,” said Bezecourt, who notched his second goal of the young season after picking up assists in each of the Terriers’ previous two victories.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it is a sign of a champion when a team can pull off a victory when their backs are against the wall,” added Binks, who has helped SFC Brooklyn put together a 390-minute scoreless run to being the campaign.
Pretty or not, the Terriers are clearly the early frontrunners for a third consecutive NEC crown, and may begin gaining more national recognition after ranking third overall in the country in the latest NSCAA Northeast Poll.
The Terriers topped U-Mass Lowell and St. Bonaventure over the weekend to capture the Astroturf Brooklyn Bridge Cup, building on their season-opening scoreless tie with the University of Connecticut.
“We want to win every game at home. Anytime you win a trophy it is great,” SFC head coach Tom Giovatto after his side improved to 13-2-1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park since the facility became the full-time home for the Terriers.
The Terriers will be back in action Saturday for their first road game at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City.
The LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds (2-2) were also participants in last weekend’s local tournament, crushing St. Bonaventure, 4-0, in its opening match before suffering a tough 1-0 defeat to U-Mass Lowell on Sunday to fall out of the running for the Brooklyn Bridge Cup.
The four-goal victory over St. Bonaventure was the Blackbirds’ first since a 7-3 triumph over SFC Brooklyn in 2007.
Keaton Sprague, Nahuel Medina, Tanner Sica and Christoffer Bjarre Solbakken scored against the Bonnies for LIU, which will take the pitch again Friday at 6 p.m. against host Rider.
In local pro sports news, the Islanders announced Thursday morning that they have signed former New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier to a professional tryout contract as the relocated franchise gets set to begin training camp in advance of its inaugural season in our fair borough.
Bernier, 30, accumulated a career-best 32 points, including 16 goals and 16 assists, in his fourth season with New Jersey in 2014-15. His plus-two rating ranked second-best among all forwards for the Devils last season.
Since signing with New Jersey as a free agent in 2012, Bernier has tallied 65 points (28 goals, 37 assists) in 224 games.
The Quebec City, Quebec native played in all 24 postseason games during New Jersey’s run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, and hopes to bring some of that playoff experience to an Islander team that is seeking its first postseason series win since 1993.
In 609 career NHL games with the Devils, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks, Bernier has registered 224 points (104 goals, 120 assists). He has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 68 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Devils, Canucks and Sharks.
Thomas Greiss, signed as a free agent this offseason to back up Islanders netminder Jaroslav Halak, arrived on Long Island over the Labor Day weekend and has been participating in the team’s informal skates in advance of training camp.
The native of Germany is quite happy to be inked for the next two years with the Islanders as they make their big move into Brooklyn.
“It’s a good team. A contender,” Greiss told the team’s website. “They will be able to make the playoffs. It’s a good, young group and a good group of guys.”