The #7/6 UAlbany men's lacrosse team completed its fifth consecutive perfect America East season on Saturday night, using a 7-0 run in the second half to sprint past Hartford 16-10.
At an 8-8 tie score with 8:22 to play in the third quarter, UAlbany (12-2, 6-0 AE) rolled off the next seven goals vs. Hartford (6-8, 2-4 AE) over the next 17 minutes to seal the victory in front of 2,108 Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.
With the win, UAlbany has won its last 28 America East regular season games, the longest active conference winning streak in the country.
“It was a hard fought game; it was tense in the first half, but at halftime we regrouped and played our game in the second half and took over the game,” said UAlbany head coach Scott Marr. “Give our guys credit for holding serve and doing well in the second half.”
UAlbany outshot Hartford 58-31 and had a 38-27 edge in ground balls. As a team, UAlbany won 25-of-28 faceoffs, with TD Ierlan having a stellar day of 22-of-24 wins, 13 ground balls and a goal.
Kyle McClancy finished with a career-high five goals, adding two caused turnovers on the ride. Connor Fields finished with a goal and four assists while Justin Reh concluded with two goals and two assists. JD Colarusso earned the victory in net off eight saves.
“I had the easy job, guys were finding me in good spots,” said McClancy. “[My teammates] were drawing the slides and I was wide open, I just had to put it into the net.”
For Hartford, Jaedon Henderson and Griffin Feiner each had hat tricks. Ryan Vanderford had the loss despite 17 saves in goal.
Earlier in the day, the America East Tournament bracket was set: 1-seed UAlbany will host rival 4-seed Stony Brook in the semifinal round on Thursday, May 4th at 7 p.m. The winner of the game plays the victor of 2-seed UMBC and 3-seed Binghamton.
After some exchanged possessions where each side made saves, Mitch Laffin caught a pass from Fields, and with a defender on his back, scored close range. Feiner equalized minutes later, then UAlbany went back up off a McClancy long range rip and Eli Lasda cutting to the cage, catching the pass from Laffin for the shot and score, making it 3-1 UAlbany with 5:14 left in the 1st.
Feiner got another goal minutes later, then Bennett Drake got it back, wide open after Fields drew a double for the goal. A Henderson goal towards the end of the first made it 4-3 UAlbany after one.
Hartford scored quickly into the second, then UAlbany responded with a heave downfield from Colarusso to a sprinting Adam Osika for the run and score. Less than 60 seconds later, Laffin added a second goal, ahead of a double drawn by Drake. Following a Hartford goal, UAlbany scored twice in the half's final 3:15 with a second chance goal off a ground ball by Jake Cullen man-up, then another long range laser from McClancy to make it 8-5 at the half.
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Hartford went on a 3-0 run to begin the third quarter, started by two Alec Brown goals, to even the contest at 8-8 with 8:22 left in the period.
UAlbany broke the stalemate with 5:15 left in the third with a catch and shoot goal from Reh on the doorstep. UAlbany's ride forced a Hartford turnover, leading to McClancy scoring in transition, then Ierlan won a faceoff, sprinted down the field and scored himself. Fields added one more goal in the quarter with a shot from the waist around the keeper's torso to make it 12-8 after three.
McClancy kept the attack going with two goals in the opening 72 seconds of the fourth, a straight away frozen rope and another from around the arc man-up. UAlbany's defense held against Hartford's shots as play picked up, then Troy Reh set up Justin Reh for the transition shot and score, completing the 7-0 run and giving UAlbany a 15-8 advantage.
UAlbany added one more late goal from Osika as Hartford added two more. The Great Danes took the 16-10 victory.