April 28, 2012

Hartford Clinches Last America East Playoff Bid

from press release

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – For the second-straight season, the University of Hartford men's lacrosse team earned a berth in the upcoming America East Championship, accomplishing the feat in dramatic fashion with a 10-9, overtime triumph against the visiting Vermont Catamounts on Saturday. A pair of veterans came up huge for the University of Hartford men's lacrosse team on Senior Night as Martin Bowes and Aidan Genik erased a two-goal deficit to force extra time where Bowes found the back of the net again to lock up the final playoff spot for the Hawks.

The game was do-or-die for both teams as Vermont closes out its 2012 campaign with a 2-12 overall record, including a mark of 1-4 in league play. Hartford, which finishes its regular season with a 6-8 mark, enters the Championship as the fourth seed with a winning record in league play (3-3) and will head to LaValle Stadium on Wednesday, May 2 to defend its title against the Stony Brook Seawolves at 7:00 p.m.

Bowes finished the game with a hat trick while senior Carter Bender collected three points on a pair of goals and an assist. Rounding out the Hawks' scorers was freshman Kevin O'Shea, sophomores Alex Matarazzo and Tate Klidonas, and seniors Ryan Compitello and Genik who each contributed one goal. Thomas Galvin paced the Catamounts' offense with a trio of goals and Geoff Worley scored a team-best four points, using a pair of goals and two assists.

After a slow start to the game that saw just three goals scored in the opening 30 minutes, Hartford gained momentum out of the intermission and netted three-straight unassisted scores to erase a 2-1 halftime deficit. Compitello, Bowes and Matarazzo all went unassisted within a three minute span to quickly make it a 4-2 count in favor of the home team.

After two-straight Hawks goals were called back due to crease violations, momentum rapidly shifted in favor for Vermont. Andrew Muscara answered for Vermont on the other end as the Catamounts scored the next four goals of the game to regain the edge and go ahead by two at 6-4 with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter.

That two-goal lead didn't last long for the Catamounts however as Klidonas won the ensuing face-off, scooped up the ground ball and raced to the goal, making it a one-point affair at 6-5.

In the final quarter, the Hawks struck first and evened the game at 6-6 with 10:49 remaining thanks to a goal by Bender, his first of the outing.

Worley countered for the Catamounts at the 6:53 mark and with his first goal of the season, Mark D'Anthony helped Vermont gain a two-goal spread with 4:39 left to play.

Following a Bender score, Philie added another notch on the scoreboard for the Catamounts with 3:17 to go in regulation to again push the visitors ahead by a pair of goals.

With time winding down in regulation, Bowes' 17th goal of the season trimmed the Hawks deficit to a single goal with just 37 ticks remaining on the scoreboard. Klidonas earned the Hawks' possession in the ensuing face-off and out of a timeout, Jared Franze took what seemed to be the final shot of Hartford's campaign as David Barton, the Catamounts' keeper, was in place to prevent the game-tying goal. The rebound, however, squirted away and in the final second, Genik shoveled in the equalizer as the final horn sounded.

Bowes provided the heroics in overtime to lead Hartford to its second-straight overtime victory as last weekend, it upended Stony Brook, 11-10 at LaValle Stadium.

Scott Bement came up big again in goal for Hartford, stopping 10 shots on the evening. He now has 499 career saves and passed former All-American Chris LaMonica in Hartford's Division I record books, good for fourth place. Also anchoring the Hawks' defense was Ben Knapton. A senior long stick midfielder, he forced Vermont into four of its 14 turnovers while scooping up a team-best five ground balls.

The battle at the face-off X was split even as both squads finished 11-for-22. Klidonas had a strong showing in the circle, winning eight of his 13 duels and finishing with three ground balls.


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