Air Force Defeats Hobart in ECAC Finale

USAFA, Colo. – Junior captain Erik Smith (Golden, Colo.) tallied a career-best four goals to lead the Air Force lacrosse team to a 16-12 victory over ECAC rival Hobart Saturday afternoon at Falcon Stadium.

Mike Crampton (Jr., Kinnelon, N.J.) and Ryland De Pol (So., Riva, Md.) both added hat tricks for the Falcons, while sophomore Keith Dreyer (Malvern, Pa.) dished out a personal-best five assists. For the Statesmen, Jake McHenry and Frank Brown both registered hat tricks, while Alex Love, the second-leading goal scorer in the nation, was held to just two assists.

The game started out sloppy and slow, with the two teams combining for nine first-period turnovers, and neither team getting on the scoreboard until the 4:09 mark when Smith registered his first goal of the contest. Air Force added two more scores in the period, getting goals from Crampton and Christopher Allen (Fr., Hillsborough, N.J.) to take a 3-0 lead into the second quarter.

The offense began to heat up in the second period, with Hobart getting two quick goals to pull within one with 12:23 on the clock. Just eight seconds later, the Falcons were back on the board as Dreyer assisted Tommy McKee (Jr., Holt, Mich.) following a face-off win by Smith.

The Statesmen (6-8, 2-5) cut the margin to 4-3 with a man-up goal less than a minute later, but Air Force closed out the half with four unanswered scores, including a falling-down goal from De Pol with just four seconds remaining, to go into the intermission with an 8-3 lead.

Air Force (7-7, 2-5) continued to pull away after the break, beginning with an unassisted score by Kyle Cassady (Upper Arlington, Ohio) in the first minute of the third period. After another De Pol goal, Hobart ended its scoring drought with a score at the 11:21 mark, but the Falcons registered two more scores to take a 12-4 lead midway through the period. The Statesmen notched three of the next four goals, including a pair of man-up scores, but an extra-man goal by Smith with just under two minutes in the quarter put Air Force up 14-7.

Hobart made a strong push in the final stanza, outscoring Air Force 5-1 in the first five and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, with the Falcons' lone goal coming from short-stick defensive midfielder Brenden Coleman (Fr., Doylestown, Pa.). However, the Statesmen were unable to get any closer, as De Pol's man-up score at the 7:29 mark proved to be the final goal at the game, as Air Force was able to hold on for the win.

The Falcons were called for eight penalties in the game, as Hobart scored on 4 of 8 extra-man opportunities. Meanwhile, Air Force was 2 of 3 on the EMO. The Statesmen had a slight edge on shots taken, 38-37, and won 18 of 32 face-offs.

Senior Austin Fox (Webster, N.Y.), playing in his final game for the Falcons, recorded 14 saves, including eight in the opening half.

“I'm really happy that our seniors were able to end their careers with a win,” said Air Force head coach Eric Seremet. “They've been through a lot of challenges and a lot of adversity over the past four years, but they've helped this program get to a better place than when they came in. The game today was all about playing for our seniors.”

“I was really pleased with the way (defenseman) Matt Puleo played today,” added Seremet. “He did a great job stopping [Hobart's Alex] Love, who is undoubtedly one of the top attackmen in our league.”

* * * *

Junior attackman Cam Stone became the 10th Hobart player to record 100 career points at the Division I level with a goal and two assists, but Air Force topped the Statesmen 16-12 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Hobart ends the season with a 6-8 record, 2-5 in the ECAC. The Falcons finish the year 7-7 with a 2-5 league mark.

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2013-04-27



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