FAIRFIELD, Conn. – With the game tied 10-10 with 10 minutes remaining, a key 4-0 run over an eight-minute span down the stretch pushed the Sacred Heart men's lacrosse team past Hartford, 14-11, from Campus Field on Sunday afternoon. The Pioneers move to 1-0 on the season, winning their season opener for the second time in the last three seasons, while the Hawks drop to 0-1.
A back-and-forth game throughout, the margin was just two goals or less for more than 55 total minutes of this one but the winning plays were made by the Pioneers when it counted the most. With the score deadlocked at 10-10, James Gadaleta's first career goal was the start of the game-deciding 4-0 run as goals from Ryan Lindsey (twice) and Trevor Johnson followed.
In all, 10 Pioneers scored in this seesawing affair with Drew Edwards putting in three goals and two assists for a career-high five points. Stony Brook transfer Jack Walsh shined in his SHU debut, matching his career-high with five points while setting a single-game career-high with four assists. Lindsey finished with three points (two goals, one assist) while Carson Spooner had a two-goal game and four other Pioneers had two points apiece.
Brooks Dutton played the first 30 minutes and tallied eight saves with five goals allowed while classmate Colton King came on for the second half and finished with six saves on 12 shots on-target as he picked up his first career win.
1ST Quarter (2-2 Tied)
- Neither side got much going on offense in the opening quarter as the game's first goal didn't come until there was 6:28 showing on the clock with Braeden McKercher breaking the deadlock for Hartford
- Spooner's first career goal was the first SHU goal of the 2020 season as he answered back to make it 1-1 just 2:08 minutes later
- Donovan Lacey made a dynamic play as he went coast-to-coast for an unassisted tally with just 3.6 seconds left on the clock in the first quarter to even the score after one
2nd Quarter (7-5 SHU)
- SHU seized control of momentum, continuing from Lacey's goal to end the first, SHU went on a 5-1 run that put the Pioneers ahead 6-3 midway through the frame
- Consecutive EMO goals from Jaden Walcot and Walsh were followed by an Edwards strike just 46 seconds later as SHU took their largest lead of the game up to that point at 6-3
- The Hawks took advantage of some miscues and netted two goals with Carter O'Connell scoring on an EMO after a late SHU penalty from Tyler Corpora's goal 27 seconds prior put the Hawks on the man-advantage
- Much like the first, however, SHU was able to grab a goal in the final minute of the period as this time it was Spooner scoring again off a Lindsey feed to make it 7-5 Pioneers at halftime
3rd Quarter (9-8 SHU)
- As the SHU offense stagnated, Hartford took advantage with their most-productive stretch of the game as a 3-0 Hawks run put the visitors out front 8-7 midway through the third
- Despite going 5-for-6 at the faceoff X, SHU committed eight of their 21 turnovers in the third quarter alone which allowed Hartford to retake the lead
- Despite the scoring run, SHU didn't allow a Hartford goal over the final 6:47 of the quarter while Kyle Foley scored his first career goal and Edwards followed with his second of the day before the buzzer sounded to give SHU a one-goal lead heading into the fourth
4th Quarter (14-11 SHU)
- The sides continues to go back-and-forth as Edwards completed his hat trick with an EMO goal that made it 10-8 before two unanswered Hawk strikes evened the score with 9:56 left
- Jake Giaquinto won the ensuing faceoff to setup the go-ahead goal with Gadaleta scoring his first career goal off a Walsh feed that made it 11-10
- Over five minutes went by with both sides trading blows but King made two big saves and later Lindsey broke loose along the far side as he found the back of the net to give the Pioneers a two-goal lead
- After Malcolm Bell hit the post for Hartford, SHU cleared successfully and Johnson took a Walsh pass and scored as SHU led 13-10 with 3:11 left
- With Hartford's goalie out of the crease, SHU was able to move the ball around until Lindsey scored on the empty net to seal the Pioneer victory
- Edwards surpassed his previous career-high of four points from last season
- Giaquinto went 13-for-23 at the X, including 12-for-19 after losing three straight in the first quarter
- Logan Lilejberg put up one goal and one assist on the day, increasing an impressive streak as he has registered at least one point in every game he has played for SHU (31 straight)
- Donovan Lacey racked up a team-leading three caused turnovers while Thomas Houlihan and Conor Sullivan each tallied three ground balls
- Gadaletta, a senior, had played in just five career games heading into this season-opener but he made quite the impact scoring the go-ahead goal that started the game-clinching 4-0 SHU run while also assisting on an Edwards goal late in the third quarter
- Matt Thrasher dished out two assists in his first career game
- SHU was 24-for-25 on clears while holding Hartford to 16-for-20 on their clearing attempts for the game
- The Pioneers made the most of their man-up opportunities, going 3-for-4 on the EMO while holding Hartford to a 1-for-4 showing
- Shots (44-41) and ground balls (28-27) favored Hartford slightly in this evenly-contested matchup
- The Pioneers had 10 different goal scorers on the day, something SHU accomplished just twice last season
- After losing three straight in the series to Hartford prior to 2019, SHU has now won two straight against their annual in-state non-conference foe and move to 11-11 all-time against the Hawks
SHU hits the road for a Saturday afternoon showdown at Bucknell in what is the first all-time meeting between the two sides.