Delaware Upends #8 Hofstra in CAA Semifinals

Hempstead, NY - Junior Eric Smith had three goals, senior Grant Kaleikau tied his career-high with five assists and senior Noah Fossner made 11 saves to lead the fourth-seed Delaware Blue Hens to a 10-9 upset of the eighth-ranked and top-seeded Hofstra Pride in a CAA Tournament semifinal game at James M. Shaurt Stadium Wednesday night.

The Blue Hens (10-6) advance to face the third-seed Massachusetts Minutemen (10-4), a 10-9 overtime winner over second-seeded Penn State Wednesday night, in the CAA Championship game on Saturday, May 7 at Richard Garber Field in Amherst. Game time is 7:00 p.m. The Pride (13-2), who saw their eight game winning streak and their 15-game home winning streak snapped, will now wait and hope for an at-large bid when the 2011 NCAA Championship field of 16 is announced on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m.

In addition to Smith and Kaleikau, senior Kevin Kaminski tallied two goals for the Blue Hens. Hofstra was led by junior Kevin Ford, who tied his career-best with five goals while Jamie Lincoln added two goals and one assist and Jay Card chipped in with one goal and one assist. Junior goalie Andrew Gvozden, the national leader in goals against average and save percentage, made eight saves.

The Pride led just once in the contest at 2-1 after Card and Ford scored 45 seconds apart early in the first quarter. But the Blue Hens scored the next four goals-by four different scorers-to take a 5-2 lead at halftime. Sophomore Nick Diachenko started the run with his 16th of the season, from Kaleikau, with 3:46 to play in the first quarter. Taylor Burns scored off the face-off seven seconds later, from Dan Cooney, for a 3-2 lead. Smith then scored his first of the game and 21st of the season, from Connor McRoy, with four seconds remaining for a 4-2 lead after one quarter. Kaminski scored his first of the game and 10th of the season 57 seconds into the second quarter for the 5-2 lead at the intermission.

The Pride closed the gap to 5-3 just 1:33 into the second half as Ford scored his second of the game and 12th of the season. The Blue Hens then boosted the lead to 7-3 with 5:17 to play in the third with goals by Smith and John Mills, both off assists from Kaleikau. Hofstra closed the deficit again with an unassisted goal by Steven DeNapoli, his fourth of the year, 12 seconds after Mills' tally, and Lincoln's 28th goal of the year, off a pass from Card, 50 seconds later to close to 7-5 after three quarters.

Smith tallied his third of the game and 23rd of the season just 22 seconds into the fourth quarter for an 8-5 lead. But Ford came back with back-to-back goals 48 seconds apart to close to one at 8-7. His third of the game came off a short pass down to the crease from Ian Braddish (two assists) at the 9:46 mark, while his fourth came off a short pass from Stephen Bentz at the 8:58 mark. Bentz extended his consecutive game point streak to 30 but had his goal streak stopped at 16 by the Blue Hens.

The Blue Hens gave themselves a little breathing room behind two more assists from Kaleikau as Sean Finegan notched his 18th of the year on a pass to the crease at the 6:23 mark, and Kaminski scored his second of the game and 11th of the year during the Pride's full-field ride with 2:33 to play for a 10-7 advantage.

Hofstra did not quit and Ford notched his fifth of the game and 15th of the season off a pass from Bentz with one minute to play, and closed the deficit to 10-9 just 16 seconds later as face-off specialist John Antoniades fed Lincoln for his 29th goal of the year.

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2011-05-04



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