Hartford vs. Albany
April 8, 2012
The Game Story:
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Hartford men’s lacrosse team stormed back from a four-goal deficit in the second half, but surrendered a pair of late goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to fall to the University at Albany Great Danes by a 12-11 final on Saturday evening at Alumni Stadium.

Albany improves its record in America East play to a perfect 2-0 mark, 2-8 overall, while Hartford dips to 3-8 on the season and 0-2 in the conference.

Jared Franze, a sophomore midfielder, led the Hawks with five points, including a game-best four goals, while senior Carter Bender added three scores and an assist for four points. Joe Resetarits paced Albany’s offense with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) while Miles Thompson also netted a hat trick to finish with four points.

The Great Danes, who led 5-3 at the halftime break, scored two quick goals to take their largest advantage of the game at 7-3 with Rocky Bonitatibus and Miles Thompson providing the scores.

Momentum then shifted in favor of the Hawks, however, as they scored three of the next four goals to close out the third quarter facing a two-goal deficit at 8-6. Bender started the rally with his first of three goals on the evening at 11:56 while Franze followed suit at the 10:19 mark to make it a 7-5 contest.

Resetarits provided an answer for Albany and helped his team regain its three-goal edge with 9:22 to go. Following an eight minute scoreless drought for both squads, Martin Bowes, a senior, would go unassisted 72 seconds before the end of the third to bring the Hawks within two points at 8-6 heading into the final quarter of play.

After combining to win just three face-offs in the first three quarters, the Hawks went 7-for-9 in the final quarter behind a solid 6-for-8 effort by sophomore Tate Klidonas. That performance inside of the circle, coupled with a strong showing by Hartford’s defensive line, helped spark the Hawks’ offense which outscored their opponents, 5-3, down that final stretch.

The Great Danes drew blood first in the final quarter as Miles Thompson went unassisted to regain a three-goal lead for the visiting team however Hartford got hot, reeling off three-straight scores to even the score at nine goals apiece and forcing the game into a tie for the first time since early in the second quarter.

The Hawks’ rally was started by Bender’s unassisted score with 12:40 remaining which closed the gap to two. Two minutes later, Bender struck again when he put the finishing touches on a feed from Franze which was made possible thanks to a forced turnover by defender Ben Liebel.

Hartford would then take advantage of another Albany turnover, this one caused by long stick midfielder Ben Knapton, and tied up the game at 9-9 on Franze’s fourth goal of the evening with 7:30 left to play in regulation.

The lead was short lived for the Hawks though as Lyle Thompson found a seam in Hartford's defense, and with his second goal of the night, he regained the lead for the Great Danes at 10-9 with 6:32 remaining but the Hawks countered and strung together a pair of unanswered scores netted 15 seconds apart to claim the advantage at 11-10.

Rory Nunamacher put the finishing touches on a pass from Bender to tie up the game for the third time at 10-10 and Ty Schuldt put the Hawks up by one when he fired one in from point blank with 5:26 to go.

Out of the ensuing face-off, Hartford turned the ball over and Will Stenberg saw a clean look at the goal but goalie Scott Bement, who stopped 15 shots in the contest, was in place to make the save with 5:01 to go. Albany got another shot off just 17 seconds later however Resetarits sent his attempt wide of the cage.

A Hartford turnover with 46 seconds to go in regulation proved to be costly for the Hawks as Albany regained possession, cleared the ball successfully and called for timeout. Out of the break, the Hawks induced Lyle Thompson into a turnover with 23 seconds, but were unable to hold on to the ball as Matt Mackenzie scooped up the ground ball and netted the equalizer with just three ticks remaining on the scoreboard.

Albany, which led 48-27 in the shots column, also finished with the advantage in ground balls, scooping up 39 to the Hawks’ 29. Max Huber rejected six shots in goal for the Great Danes.

In overtime, Ty Thompson provided the heroics as he let the game-winning shot fly just 75 seconds into the extra period