TOWSON, Md. -- Junior Sam Llinares tallied four goals and senior Chris Selva came off the bench to record 12 saves and lead the Hofstra Pride to a 9-2 victory over the 12th-ranked Towson Tigers in a key Colonial Athletic Association contest at Johnny Unitas Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Hofstra victory keeps the Pride alive in the conference race for a spot in the four-team CAA tournament (April 30-May 2) heading into the final weekend of the regular season next week. Hofstra, which snapped a three-game losing skid, improved to 5-8 overall and 2-2 in the CAA. Towson, currently the top team in the league, slips to 9-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
The Pride victory means the selection of the four teams for the CAA championship will go down to the final weekend next week. Five teams are battling for the four spots with Delaware, the sixth team, on the outside looking in with an 0-3 record entering conference play today.
Llinares recorded his fifth hat-trick of the season with his 10th multi-goal game of the year. In the process, he also topped his previous single-season best of 53 points set last season. Sophomore Trevor Kupeckytallied two goals and one assist and junior Korey Hendrickson notched two goals. Junior Brian von Bargenadded two assists. Selva, who came into the contest in the second quarter after freshman starter Jack Concannon broke a string on his stick, made four saves in each of the final three periods.
Towson received two goals by sophomore Ryan Drenner. Junior goalie Tyler White made six saves in the Tiger cage. Hofstra boosted their all-time series lead against Towson to 26-20.
In a deliberate game that featured the top offense in the CAA in Hofstra, with 10 goals per game, against the top defense in the league in Towson, with a 6.81 average, the Pride struck for the only goal in the first quarter as Hendrickson scored his 12th goal of the year with 7:18 to play in the period. Llinares made it 2-0 for Hofstra just 46 seconds into the second quarter with his 29th goal of the season, coming around the left side of the Towson goalie.
But the Tigers tied the contest on consecutive goals by Drenner, his 14th and 15th of the season just 2:18 apart, to knot the game at 2-2 with 5:05 to play in the half.
Llinares gave Hofstra the game at halftime with his second of the game and 30th of the year with 3:31 to play in the period. The point was also Llinares' career-best 54th of the season, topping the 53 points he tallied in 2014. The Tigers outshot the Pride, 12-5 in the second quarter and 17-8 for the half. Pride seniorChris Selva made four saves after replacing freshman starter Jack Concannon with 13:17 to play in the half.
Hofstra added to their lead with goals just 46 seconds apart off of great passes. Junior Brian von Bargenfound Kupecky on the doorstep for his third goal of the season with 7:03 to play in the third. Kupecky then repaid the favor by finding a streaking Brier Davis for his 14th goal of the season and a 5-2 Pride lead after three quarters. Hofstra outshot the Tigers, 11-6 in the period with Selva making four saves for the Pride.
The Pride scored four more times in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach as Kupecky and Hendrickson each scored their second of the game and Llinares added his third and fourth of the contest for his fifth hat-trick of the year. The 9-2 Hofstra victory was the second-best defensive effort of the season following their 18-0 shutout of Manhattan on February 24.