WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (NEWS10) – The UAlbany men’s lacrosse team improved to 2-0 in America East play with a 13-9 victory at Hartford off seven goals from Connor Fields.
UAlbany (5-2, 2-0 AE) earned a nine-goal lead against Hartford (4-4, 1-1 AE) at 12-3 in the third quarter, earning a pair of 5-0 runs in the first half. Hartford put together a late 4-0 run, but UAlbany’s early lead proved the difference on Saturday afternoon.
“We are on the road for a conference game, and we knew that [Hartford] would come out and not quit,” said UAlbany coach Scott Marr, whose team has won 18 straight America East regular season games. “At the end of the day, we are 2-0 in-conference.”
With the win, UAlbany stands alone in first place in the America East at 2-0, a half game over Binghamton at 1-0.
Fields matched his career-high of seven goals, adding an assist for eight points.
“The guys were really looking for me out there today,” said Fields. “I had a bunch of assisted goals; I was not doing everything myself.”
Justin Reh scored two goals with an assist while Seth Oakes increased his goal-scoring streak to 24 games with a goal and an assist. Blaze Riorden earned the victory, saving seven shots in 60 minutes. Troy Reh earned three caused turnovers and three ground balls on the defensive end.
For Hartford, Justin Huggins had all four goals in the team’s final 4-0 run while Dylan Jinks got three assists. Ryan Vanderford finished with seven saves in the defeat.
UAlbany got on the board quickly as after a won faceoff, Adam Osika buried a line drive in the upper left corner. On the next possession, Jack Burgmaster received the pass from Bennett Drake, made a spin move with one hand on the stick and flicked the ball inside the post for the goal for a 2-0 UAlbany lead 3:11 in. Riorden held on a long Hartford possession as Alec Brown fired three times at the cage, with one high and Riorden stopping two. After UAlbany cleared and had a shot saved, Osika intercepted a pass at midfield and passed to a wide open Fields for a slam dunk goal.
UAlbany rolled off two quick goals as after a saved Kyle McClancy shot, Justin Reh picked up the ball next to the goal circle and scored, drawing a penalty on a late hit. On the man-up, a wide open Fields scored top shelf from Oakes to build a 5-0 lead, just over 10 minutes in.
Hartford got onto the board with a minute left in the 1st off a close range Doug Biodi goal. Drawing a penalty going into the 2nd, Brown threw a shot off the inside of the right post and into the net to pull Hartford within three at 5-2.
After some defensive plays on both sides, UAlbany grabbed three goals in a span on 73 seconds. After a clear, Kevin McNally found Justin Reh in front of the cage for a shot between the goalie’s feet for the score. Next possession, Fields found Jake Cullen in front, who took a hit, held the ball and scored behind the back for the goal. The penalty led to a man-up as, after a lot of passes, Fields fired a shot under the crossbar for the score. Fields added two more in the later minutes with a behind the back shot and score, then a rebound shot off the crossbar on the low to high shot. Hartford scored man-up in the closing minutes of the half to make it 10-3 UAlbany at the break.
Into the third, the defense ruled for the next 10 minutes as Riorden and Vanderford each made saves on long possessions. UAlbany itself had a six-shot possession that did not result in a goal.
The UAlbany defense kept causing turnovers as Josh Babcock and Osika intercepted passes. McClancy grabbed another, cleared himself and passed to Oakes for the score on the low shot. Following another Hartford turnover, Fields got the ball again and hit his mark in the upper right corner for goal number six. Hartford added another late goal from Trevor O’Brien as UAlbany lead 12-4 after three-quarters.
After a Henderson goal for Hartford, Fields immediately countered with a goal while being knocked down to make it 13-5 UAlbany with 12:32 left.
Hartford kept winning faceoffs and drawing penalties as the game continued on. Huggins scored four goals in a row, but UAlbany held enough on defense. Joe Eddinger had two key caused turnovers in the closing minutes of the quarter to help seal the game for UAlbany as the Great Danes took the 13-9 victory.
UAlbany returns home for a mid-week matchup on Wednesday, March 30th, taking on Harvard under the lights of John Fallon Field at 7 p.m.