Hartford Comebacks Fall Short vs. Sacred Heart

FAIRFIELD, Conn. University of Hartford fell behind early at Sacred Heart and was never able to recover against the Sacred Heart Pioneers as it fell by a 10-9 final on Wednesday afternoon at Campus Field.

Hartford (2-6), which trailed by as much as three goals, cut its deficit to a single point on three occasions but could never get over the hump and deliver the equalizer. Carter Bender, Ryan Compitello and Aidan Genik, the Hawks' starting three attackmen, combined for six goals on the afternoon as they each finding the back of the net twice. Compitello capped a team-high four point day with two helpers.

The Hawks drew blood first as Tate Klidonas scored a short-handed goal less than three minutes out of the opening face-off but Sacred Heart closed out the first quarter with three unanswered scores to take the lead at 3-1. Chris Casey knotted up the score at one goal apiece and following a man-up tally by Matt Ferrino less than one minute later, Casey delivered again for the Pioneers with 1:56 to play in the first to provide his team with the early advantage.

The Hawks and Pioneers played an even second quarter, exchanging one goal each to make it a 4-2 contest heading into the halftime intermission. It took more than 13 minutes for either team to reach the scoreboard in that period with Aaron Lupo breaking the silence at the 1:32 mark to give Sacred Heart the 4-1 edge.

With 41 seconds before halftime, Bender got the Hawks' second goal of the afternoon on the board when he reached the back of the net for the 16th time this season.

Out of the halftime break, Mike Mawdsley provided the Pioneers with a 5-2 edge at the 10:19 mark before Bender received a feed from Rory Nunamacher and buried the shot with 8:54 left in the third to bring the Hawks back within two.

Sacred Heart struck again less than one minute later before the Hawks countered with two unanswered scores by seniors Martin Bowes and Genik to make it a one point game with 64 seconds left in the stanza. The Pioneers again had the answer however as Cody Marquis snagged a goal with just 12 ticks remaining to seize a 7-5 lead entering the final frame.

For the fourth time in the game, Sacred Heart regained a three goal edge, needing just 33 seconds in the final quarter to do so.

Bender and freshman Kevin O'Shea managed to trim the deficit to just one point with 11:09 left in regulation. Bender's unassisted score came at 12:31, and O'Shea scored on a feed from Compitello to make it an 8-7 game, but the Pioneers would rally for two goals of their own to again push their lead to three goals with 3:45 remaining.

The Hawks continued to claw as Compitello delivered two-straight scores to bring his team within one at 10-9, but their comeback bid fell short as they could not get a final shot off in the final 91 seconds of the game.

Lupo paced Sacred Heart (3-4) with four points on two goals and a pair of assists. Joining him with two goals apiece were Mawdsley, Marquis and Chris Casey.

In goal, Scott Bement finished with 13 saves and his counterpart, Ryan Hughes, also made 13 stops in the contest. The Hawks struggled inside of the face-off circle, winning 7 of 23 duels, including just 3 of 15 in the first three quarters of the game.

Hartford returns home on Saturday to face the Wagner Seahawks in its final tune-up before the start of America East Conference play. The Hawks own a 2-0 record in the overall series, including an impressive 13-6 victory on Staten Island last season. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m.

2012-03-21



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