Hofstra came out in a zone with heavy pressure on the ball and shut off the adjacent passes. The remaining defenders huddled in close in front of goalie Michael Demeo. In the first half of the first quarter their slides were late and it looked like the Hens would be able to exploit it, but the Dutchmen tightened it up and it was enough to hold Delaware to only four goals all day. Delaware, on the other side, played man to man and their close defense had more than a handful of stripped balls, but their inability to clear in the face of intense pressure cost them. Between Hofstra's total domination of face-offs, Delaware may have won one in the first half, and their forced turnovers on the ride; they were able to get many more opportunities than the Hens. It was extremely hot out there on the turf on Long Island and as the game went on the players looked like they were dragging in the second half. This played into Hofstra's hands as Delaware didn't look like they had the strength to mount a comeback in the second half after going down 6-2. Special teams were the key today.
Delaware actually struck first when a rebound off of Liam Wertheimer's shot came to Jason Lavey and he put it in the upper right from point blank range, 1-0. Early game nerves led to sloppy play with both teams taking turns throwing the ball out of bounds. Delaware's close defense looked like it would be dominant as they stripped Hofstra players on two consecutive Dutchmen possessions. First, John Ciliberto picked Kevin Dougherty and then Jeff Kraft did the same to Joe Kostolansky. Hofstra didn't look much better on defense as their slides in the zone were way late. The Dutchmen were able to get through their slow start only down by one and started picking things up when the got their first shot on goal at the 7:10 mark of the first quarter. They got the ball back and scored seconds later when Chris Korzonkiewicz swept across the top from his left to right. He launched one from about fifteen yards out to tie it at 1-1. Hofstra then went on to get the next three goals. Delaware was extremely weak on the curls from behind the net. Scott Dooley was the first to strike from that spot when he came around right-handed at 4:57. Later, after a great ride, Tom Kessler did the same one coming around to the left this time, 3-1. Then with 58 seconds to go Michael Tierney hit Joe Barile with a cross field pass that set up the righty crank, 4-1. With Doug Shanahan and Ed Hilbert facing off for Hofstra they won all of them in the first.
It was evident that Hofstra had found its timing on defense when the zone folded in on Jason Lavey for Delaware and left him gasping for air on the ground. This was the beginning of the end for Delaware. Delaware, however, got the next goal Dave Christopher drove wide from behind to his right and then into the middle where he got off a shot that beat Demeo. After the ensuing face-off Hofstra set the tone with Scott Dooley took a feed on th run from behind and exploited that weakness again, 5-2. Longstick Brian Spallina fed Adam Hananel for the last goal of the half, 6-2.
The second half was much of the same. Sloppy play on offense by both teams, but Hofstra just kept getting all the ground balls and possession with an awesome ride. The Dutchmen continued to add up the goals and Delaware folded as they saw their season come to an end, 14-4.
The funniest thing that happened was when an air raid siren went off in the backround. One of the clever Hen fans seized the opportunity with his team on offense. He shouted,"Incoming Blue Hens, Look out, Incoming Hens." Well, I guess you had to be there. Also, Ramar Clash, Hofstra attackman, has the most interesting field presence. When he runs he bobs up and down and all over the place, but very slow in straight lines. He has excellent stick protection, so he gets away with it, plus he's 220 pounds. It's just fun to watch someone who doesn't fit the mold. One more guy who doesn't fit the mold is lonstick middie Brian Spallina. He's a strong candidate for player of the year.
|Michael Demeo||13 (0.765)|