Hawks Fly by Retrievers to Reach AE Title Game

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. Hartford will make its first appearance in the America East championship under head coach Peter Lawrence's tenure after knocking off third-seeded UMBC, 14-11, in semifinal action on Al-Marzook Field on Wednesday evening.

The Hawks (10-6, 3-2 AE) will meet the top-seeded Stony Brook Seawolves on Saturday, May 7 in Stony Brook to decide the 2011 Champion and league representative in the NCAA Tournament.

Hartford, which held a slight 7-6 edge at the halftime break, outscored UMBC, 3-1, in the third quarter to jump out to a 10-7 advantage entering the final quarter. The Hawks and Retrievers went on to trade four goals each to land at the eventual 14-11 final.

Ryan Compitello, Carter Bender and Jared Franze each netted hat tricks while junior Scott Bement's stick came up huge at pivotal moments in the cage to lead the Hawks to their first title game appearance since 2003. Compitello led all scorers with five points while Bement finished the evening with six saves. Rob Grimm notched five points including four goals to lead UMBC, which finished its season with a mark of 6-7.

UMBC drew blood first, netting the contest's first goal of the game with less than 90 seconds off of the game clock. The Hawks were quick to retaliate as they won the ensuing face-off and Bender hit linemate Compitello from point blank just five seconds later.

The Retrievers reeled off three unanswered over a span of four minutes to regain the advantage at 4-1 before Hartford got hot and rallied for six-straight to take its first lead of the contest at 7-4.

Ben Knapton, a junior long stick middie, got the Hawks' streak going when he found the back of the net with 2:54 remaining in the opening quarter while Bender cut into the Retrievers' 4-2 lead one minute later with his team-best 28th goal of the season.

Hartford used four scores to open the second period and take the three-goal advantage at 7-4. Junior Martin Bowes opened the stanza with his goal at the 13:38 mark and Tim Fallon capped the Hawks' 6-0 run with his score out of the face-off coming at 8:03.

UMBC made things interesting as it scored the final two goals of the first half and stay within reach of the Hawks at 7-6. After combining to outscore the Retrievers 3-1 in the third to regain a three-goal lead at 10-7, Compitello opened the final stanza his third score of the game just 19 seconds into the period.

Rob Grimm got the goal back for the Retrievers but it was Jared Franze, a sophomore midfielder, who put the game out of reach for good when delivered back-to-back scores within 68 seconds to give the Hawks a 13-8 lead. Classmate Rory Nunamacher was credited with the assists on both goals.

Senior Fallon was impressive at the X, controlling 19 of 29 face-offs while scooping up a career-best 18 ground balls. Hartford held a slight 38-36 edge in shots and collected 35 ground balls to UMBC's 24. On the man-up, the Hawks converted on one of three situations and held the Retrievers without a goal in four of five extra-man opportunities.

Saturday's America East title game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network with a 3:00 p.m. opening face-off.

2011-05-04



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