Stifling Defense Leads Hartford Past Binghamton
from press release
VESTAL, N.Y. – Eight unanswered goals coupled with a stellar defensive performance allowed the University of Hartford men's lacrosse team to coast to an 11-3 win on the road at Binghamton on Saturday afternoon, improving the Hawks' record in league play to 2-1. Eight different players scored for the Hawks, led by senior Kevin O'Shea's hat trick and a pair of markers from senior Jared Franze.
Hartford (6-5) was also paced by a 17-save effort from Frank Piechota, a mark that matches a career-best performance for the redshirt junior. The three goals conceded by Hartford's defense are the fewest since the 2006 campaign, when the Hawks defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders by an identical, 11-3 decision.
The turning point in the game featured an 8-0 run by Hartford that broke open a 2-2 deadlock midway through the second. That spurt continued through the fourth quarter, a duration of just over 35 minutes that Binghamton (5-6, 1-2 AE) was held without a goal.
The two teams went back and forth to start until Hartford created a three-goal separation by breaking a 2-2 tie with three unanswered goals to end the second quarter.
It took nearly seven and a half minutes for either team to strike the scoreboard, but Binghamton was the first to accomplish the feat, taking the first advantage with 7:39 remaining on an unassisted score from Tucker Nelson. With a yellow flag down on the turf, Nelson looped around from behind the cage and snuck one past Piechota, who stopped the first three shots he faced on the afternoon.
Three minutes later, Hartford put its first notch on the scoreboard, knotting up the contest at one goal apiece. From the left side of the cage, O'Shea sent a pass across the crease to a streaking Ty Schuldt who pushed in his third goal of the season into the back of the net to make it a 1-1 game.
Hartford took its first lead of the game 2-1, with Drew Haig converting on a breakaway that featured three Hartford players up against a pair of Binghamton defenders in the closing seconds of the first. Alex Matarazzo started the play, creating a caused turnover in Hartford's zone. The long stick midfielder got a quick outlet pass downfield to Tate Klidonas, who fed a streaking Haig with five seconds left on the clock.
As was the case in the first quarter, Binghamton was first to score in the second, tying up the game at 2-2 after scoring on an empty net. Hartford was quick to rebound, though, as it used a 3-0 run, the first rally for either team in the contest, to take its largest lead of the half at 5-2.
Binghamton's only goal in the final 15 minutes before halftime was the product of a huge save between the pipes for Piechota. Hartford's goalie made the key stop on a Bearcats shot from point blank, but was unable to get a handle on the ball on the ensuing clear attempt.
Piechota was stopped 15 yards away from his cage, and Nelson was there to scoop up the ground ball. A quick pass down towards the crease was all the Bearcats needed to tie up the game, as Matt Springer easily netted his 25th goal of the year on an empty net with 12:14 on the clock.
The Hawks didn't let Binghamton hang around much longer, though, as O'Shea put his team back in front, 3-2, sparking a 3-0 Hawk, quarter-ending run with 9:55 left before halftime. A pair of seniors kept the rally going, with Jared Franze shaking off a defender and rifling in a goal from 12 yards out at the 6:07 mark before Nunamacher went unassisted less than 90 seconds later to make it a 5-2 game in favor of Hartford.
That offensive spurt continued into the second half, as Hartford rattled off five more unanswered scores to take an eight-goal lead with 9:11 to go in regulation. Four different players contributed to that offensive explosion, with O'Shea adding two more scores and Andrew Cacchio and Bobzien reaching the back of the net for the first time on the afternoon.
The Hawks dominated possession in the second half despite taking six less shots (23-17) than their counterparts. With 7:10 left in the game, Springer finally ended the bleeding for his team, netting a man-up goal and halting a 35 minute scoreless span for his squad with Binghamton's third goal and his second of the outing.
Hartford had the final say in the game, putting in the final goal of the game with 52 seconds left to reclaim the eight goal advantage. Sophomore Matt Carroll provided that strike following a caused turnover in the back field by rookie Jake Vogl.
Inside of the circle, the Hawks dominated with redshirt junior Adam Yee winning all but three duels (15-of-18). Hartford also won the ground ball battle, 34-20, and held Binghamton, which owns one of the nation's top man-up units, to just one extra-man goal in four chances. Klidonas and Yee each collected seven ground balls.
The Hawks return home for the first time in April next Saturday, but it will be the last home game of the 2013 regular season as well. League foe Stony Brook will be visiting Alumni Stadium on Apr. 20 for a 7 p.m. opening faceoff from Al-Marzook Field.