Hartford vs. Sacred Heart
March 7, 2009
The Game Story:
West Hartford, CT - Sacred Heart University junior Timmy Katz netted the game-winning goal just 16 seconds into the overtime period to give the Pioneers a 9-8 victory over the University of Hartford on Saturday afternoon at Al-Marzook Field at Alumni Stadium. The win was the first for the Pioneers in their 2009 campaign, pushing their overall record to 1-4, while the Hawks are still in search of their first victory, falling to 0-3 on the season.

Freshman attack Aidan Genik led Hartford with a game-high three goals, netting his second career hat trick in just three games as Hawk – the third-straight game that a Hartford rookie has tallied three scores. Also leading Hartford were freshmen Ryan Compitello and Carter Bender. Compitello recorded three points on two assists and one goal, while Bender added two assists in the Hartford loss.

Hartford got off to a staggered start, falling 2-0 to the Pioneers in the opening three minutes of the match. Sophomore Tim Fallon was first to put Hartford on the scoreboard as he netted his first goal of the season with 10:28 remaining in the first period.

Sacred Heart closed out the first period leading 4-1 following unassisted goals by Katz and freshman Aaron Lupo. The Pioneers’ offense continued to fire as junior Stephan Gerhard took advantage of a man-up situation to open Sacred Heart’s lead to 5-1.

After Sacred Heart’s early second quarter goal, the Hawks’ offense went off to provide a scoring surge, seeing four consecutive Hartford goals, three of which would come within a span of 43 seconds.

Rookie Bender set up classmate Genik to spark the Hartford rally with 12:34 remaining in the second quarter. Following the Hawks’ second goal, sophomore Tim Fallon defeated Pioneer Zach Smith in the faceoff, scooped up the ground ball, and went on to net his first goal of the season. Just 29 seconds later, the rookie combo of Genik and Bender would connect once again with Genik scoring his second goal of the game while Bender tallying his second assist on the afternoon. Both teams went scoreless for the remaining 11:51 of the second quarter, and Sacred Heart entered the halftime break with a 5-4 advantage over the Hawks.

The Hawks opened the second half in full-steam, evening the score with a Ryan Compitello goal off a turnover by Sacred Heart goalkeeper Zack Frank. During the Hawks’ four-goal surge, the Hartford defense would hold the Pioneers scoreless for a total of 23 minutes and 17 seconds, a Sacred Heart scoring drought that spanned through the second and third periods. Sacred Heart then snapped Hartford’s scoring streak when Peter Ridge scored with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter. Jon Flood closed out the fourth quarter with another goal to give Sacred Heart a 7-5 lead.

After a quick Pioneer goal just 35 seconds into the fourth, both teams battled defensively to keep their opponents away from the crease. The Hawks would then streak for three-straight goals – all within a 49 second span – to tie the game up at eight goals apiece. Jacob Eustice was the first to find the back of the net with 4:52 remaining, which was followed by a Justin Bearse goal with 4:12 remaining and another goal by Genik nine seconds later. Both scores were assisted by Compitello. Neither team would find the back of the net in the final four minutes of regulation, sending the game into overtime for the second-straight time at Al-Marzook Field, where Katz netted the game-winner just seconds into the extra period.

Sophomore Lee Malandrino made his first start in goal on the season, tallying five saves on the afternoon. For Sacred Heart, Zack played the entire game between the pipes, recording eight saves. The Pioneers were led by Evan Morgan, who recorded four points off three assists and one goal.

Hartford will next play at Harvard University on Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m. The 12th-ranked Crimson earned their first loss in an upset versus 19th-ranked Massachusetts, and currently stand at 2-1 overall.