Massachusetts vs. Fairfield
April 25, 2006
The Game Story:
AMHERST, Mass. - No. 11 UMass scored three goals in the final 1:03 -- all in a 29-second span - to comeback and capture a dramatic 7-6 victory over Fairfield on Tuesday afternoon at Garber Field. Senior captain Jake Deane (Annapolis, Md.) scored the game-winning goal with 34 seconds left after fellow senior Sean Morris (Marshfield, Mass.) had tied the game with 49 seconds left. Junior Brian Jacovina (Hicksville, N.Y.) began the run scoring off a free clear with 1:03 remaining.

The comeback was improbable as UMass trailed the entire game, gaining its first and only lead with 34 seconds left in regulation. Despite outshooting the Stags all game, UMass finished with a startling 47-19 advantage, Fairfield goalie Mike Kruger was sensational finishing with 16 saves.

The win keeps UMass in strong position to gain an at-large NCAA berth -- which would be the Minutemen's 17th in history. UMass stands at 9-3 overall and 4-2 in the ECAC while Fairfield falls to 5-7 and 3-3 in the league.

Deane scored the game-winner off a pass from sophomore Rory Pedrick (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.). The long-pole beat Kruger to the short left side for the game-winner, the first of his career and just his fifth-career goal. The play began with Deane winning the face-off as Jack Reid (Glastonbury, Conn.) scooped the groundball and set the play in motion.

Morris tied the game at 6-6 with 49 seconds left as he took a feed from Jacovina and ripped a shot from the right side after Deane won the face-off.

The run began with Jacovina scoring on a free clear from midfield as he took the ball and scored on the high left side to make it 6-5 Fairfield with 1:03 remaining.

UMass' defense kept them in the game led by senior captain Reid and junior Dan Whipple (Longmeadow, Mass.). The duo harassed Fairfield all afternoon as the combined to hold Greg Downing without a goal after he entered the game fourth in the nation in goals per game with 2.3 per game.

Reid and Whipple never gave up and aided UMass' comeback with stellar play on the defensive forcing Fairfield to turn the ball over several times late in the game. Reid finished the game with seven groundballs and four caused turnovers and once again did not allow the man he defended to score a goal for the third game in a row.

Reid and Whipple forced the Stags to turn the ball over with 1:30 left in regulation but UMass lost possession only to be awarded a free clear situation which set the stage for the dramatics.

In goal, freshman Doc Schneider (Massapequa, N.Y.) -- playing on his 19th birthday -- made eight saves including five crucial stops in the fourth quarter. He also played a role in never giving up and double-teamming Fairfield at the end forcing the turnovers.

The nation's leading scorer, Morris finished with two goals and one assist for three points, marking his 11th time in 12 games this season with three or more points. Junior Andrew Recchione (Mahwah, N.J.) also scored twice while junior Sam Moody (Amherst, Mass.) got UMass on the board with a second-quarter goal.

UMass continues its quest for an NCAA berth as they travel to Syracuse to face the No. 9 Orange this Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be show on Time Warner Sports in Syracuse, but not on CSTV as originally planned. UMass beat the Orange twice last season including in the NCAA First Round, ending their 22-year run of NCAA Semifinal appearances.