The game wasn't exactly pretty, but it sure as hell was entertaining. The sticks (and bodies) were flying all night, the clearing was atrocious (which made for great wild west scrambles), and the intensity was that of a playoff game (it sorta was). With the loss, Hofstra is almost surely out of the playoff picture, while Delaware gets the berth for an unprecedented two years in a row if they can hold off Drexel and Hartford.
Delaware started off quickly, jumping out to a 3-1 first quarter lead on 2 rips by Jason Lavey and a goal from Chris Purpura. Of course, that recap was brought to you by University of Delaware radio -- I got killed in NJ turnpike traffic and missed the whole first quarter (I forgot Friday at 5:00 is a bad time to travel).
The second quarter set the tone for much of the remaining game; both offenses proved ineffective as poor marksmanship, off target passing, and a general lack of teamwork (playing hot potato with who gets to iso is not teamwork) combined for a 1-1 score. Joe Kostolansky put home Hofstra's only goal of the quarter after a botched Delaware clear set him up with a one on one in Mullen's face. RC Reed did the Hen's only scoring on a righty drive from up top that found the top right corner with a minute left in the half. On the defensive end, John Ciliberto seemed to be stripping the ball every other play with a variety of picks. Even when he seemed smoked, he was able to come up with several great recovery checks, often catching his man with a chop from behind when their stick was cocked for a shot. He had to do it routinely -- Delaware was 4 of 7 in clears that quarter and wasn't exactly possession-happy when they did get it over the line.
Hofstra came out fired up in the third. Even though they seemed to scream "hey, i'm going to try and take my man now, please get ready" (something Delaware was guilty of too), Hofstra converted on two drives to the hoop by Hananel and Kostolansky to quickly tie up the game at 4-4.
Delaware was able to counter with a Lavey rip from the top left, and it was Lavey again who notched one on a bizarre situation -- Hofstra's D broke down and left him uncovered on the crease, and when the ball found his way to him off a rebound, he actually wound up for a full second or two (he was five feet from the goal) and blasted an unfettered shot to the upper left . No one was within five yards of him after he shot. The bad clearing continued (mostly on the Hen's part), but it paved the way for some bone jarring hits. Ciliberto and Carrington were demons out there, and even Lavey leveled a crushing shot around the midfield line (unfortunately, it buckled Eisenhart's knee).
Jason Motta connected early in the fourth to give the Hen's a two goal lead, and they then did their best to play keep away (with the exception of a couple ridiculous shots that weren't smart even if it was the first quarter). Meanwhile, Hofstra was giving everyone a turn at taking their man from their respective positions. The Hen's off season weight program showed up here -- they were able to consistently fend off the naked iso's (even shoving out Ramar Clash). Kessler finally got another tally for Hofstra with a quick dart underneath his man from the right wing and a low near-post bouncer from point blank. After a series of possession changes and timeouts, Hofstra was able to get control with two minutes left (and down by one). Adam Hananel then took off from the top and streaked down the right side for a rip to Mullen's hip (it seemed to be the move of choice tonight). A couple of sloppy desperation shots later and we were heading into overtime.
Hofstra took control of the faceoff and immediately called timeout, but on the ensuing play Ciliberto came up huge again, stripping the ball and taking it over the midfield himself. Delaware took a timeout of its own, set up RC Reed at the top of the box, did their best to make way for him, and Reed put it by Demeo.
Delaware vs. Hofstra