LEXINGTON, Va. -- If you’re going to play your final game, you may as well make it big. And VMI senior Mickey Hofmeister did just that, scoring five times, including the game-winner in double overtime against the Richmond on Saturday afternoon in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
Hofmeister drove to the goal from behind, slipping between his defender and the crease before potting the game-winner, giving VMI its first win against a Division I opponent from the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1996.
Prior to the game, the program honored the Class of 2014, Hofmeister, Rory Dillon and Eric Alter. The team played with heavy hearts after the death of Alter, 22, the team's operations manager, earlier in the week. The seniors and their families were joined in a moment of silence by the team near midfield.
Hofmeister led the day with five of VMI’s seven goals, capping his career with a 14-game point scoring streak. The game-winner was the 30th of the season, marking Hofmeister as the first Keydet with 30 goals since Drew Leonard in 2011.
Joining Hofmeister on the scoreboard were junior Mike DeBlasio and freshman Dale Mattice, who had the first goal of the game. Mattice also logged the lone assist for the Keydets.
Richmond’s scoring efforts were paced by Mitchell Goldberg, who finished with three goals. Brad Burnham, Jackson Cabot and J.P. Forester tallied one goal apiece. Alex Hatem and Jean-Luc Chetner registered one assist each.
Goaltending was strong on both ends as VMI (2-12, 1-4 A-Sun) got 13 saves from junior Evan Windisch while the Spiders’ keeper, Benny Pugh, stopped 14 Keydet efforts. Windisch made one save in the first overtime period to extend the game.
Face-offs were key to the Keydets first double-overtime win since topping Marist 16-15 in 2005. Freshman Mitch Wilson took all 18 draws for the Keydets, winning 12 of those and picking up seven ground balls. Richmond (4-10, 2-3 A-Sun) trotted out three players to take on Wilson, but managed just six wins all afternoon. Peter Moran won three of those draws on 11 chances while longstick midfielder Brenden Hynes won two of his five efforts.
Each team took two shots in extra time with the Spiders’ pair coming in the first overtime while VMI took two in the second. DeBlasio took the Keydets’ first chance in transition, getting a dish from defenseman Tyler Prasnicki, but the chance was just high. VMI’s second shot in overtime proved to be the winner from Hofmeister’s stick.
Overall, VMI ripped of 36 shots while Richmond took 35. The Spiders’ shooters came alive in the second half, combining for 22 shots in the third and fourth quarters. But Windisch was up to the task, making 10 saves during the final 35 minutes.
Prasnicki was a force to be reckoned with on defense, forcing the Spiders into a season-high seven turnovers while picking up nine ground balls. As a team, the Keydets caused 17 turnovers with another four by Dillon and two from sophomore Ian Marinacci.
Behind Prasnicki’s nine ground balls, VMI outgained Richmond 37-28 in grounders, including 11 in the third period. Of the 37 groundballs, VMI picked up 22 in the second half and overtime. Windisch and freshman defenseman Tom Brown collected four apiece.
The Keydets never trailed in the game as Mattice scored the first goal of the game just 40 seconds in, driving through the heart of the Spider defense. Richmond leveled the game three minutes later as Cabot potted his goal. The remainder of the first period was scoreless.
VMI reeled off back-to-back goals from DeBlasio and Hofmeister, with Mattice on the back end of DeBlasio’s goal, which extended his scoring streak to four games. But the Spiders answered back with a pair of their own from Goldberg and Burnham. Hatem had the helper on Burnham’s goal. VMI got its lone extra-man goal from Hofmeister with 3:30 left in the first half, sending the Keydets into the break with a 4-3 lead.
Hofmeister again found the goal to start the third quarter to give VMI a two-goal, 5-3 lead. But once again Richmond rallied to tie the contest for a third time as Forester and Goldberg each deposited shots, with the latter coming in the final minute of the third quarter.
VMI got a fourth goal from Hofmeister, who logged his third consecutive hat trick, with 11:44 to play in regulation. That goal looked to be the game-winner, but Goldberg had other plans as he deadlocked the game at 6 with just 17 seconds on the board.
Wilson won the initial face-off in extra time, but turned it over, giving Richmond a crack at the win. But the Keydet defense bailed out Wilson, limiting the Spiders to just two shots, one of which was stopped by Windisch and the second effort went left.
Opening the second overtime, the Spiders sent Hynes to the face-off and try to limit a Wilson fast break. Hynes won the draw but the Keydets got the ball back after defensive midfielder Gage Snowbarger forced Chetner into a turnover. That ground ball was collected by Prasnicki, who found an open DeBlasio in transition. His effort went high, but VMI retained possession, allowing Hofmeister to drive to his right for the game-winning goal, the first of his career.