Hawks soar with 19-11 victory. The St. Joseph’s Hawks (9-3) in quest of their ninth consecutive victory, faced off against the LIU Sharks (6-5) in a Semi-Final of the NEC To determine who would go on to play in the Conference Championship.
Matt Bohmer, Matt Tufano, Levi Anderson, Ryan Doran, and Tucker Brown each netted hat tricks with Evan Campbell posting six assists to send The Hawks to their fourth final appearance (2015, 2016, 2018, 2021). A record was set on the opening face-off. Zach Cole scooped the loose ball breaking the school record with his 297th. Mark Regan (1g) kicked off the scoring at the 11:51 mark to give the visitors the early 1-0 edge.
Their fortune would quickly change when the St. Joe offense geared up with Matt Bohmer, Adam Ritter (1g,1a), and Evan Campbell (1g, 6a) set up Bohmer for his 29th and a 3-1 lead. Blake Belem (1g,1a) answered making it 3-2 with Ryan Doran (3g,3a) being matched by Dylan Valleri (3g) before Doran hit rope again with his 19th to end the wide-open first with the Hawks up, 5-3. Sean Boll (1g) at 12:41 cut it to 5-4. It would stay that way for 7 and a half minutes until Tucker Brown hit his first of the day.
Villari a minute later and a man-up goal from Will Snelders (4g) got things even at 6-6. At that point, St.Joe’s kicked it into overdrive. They unfurled a six-goal rally that was started when Levi Anderson converted a Shane Fable (1a) lead pass at 2:43. Campbell set up Matt Tufano (3g,3a) for his 15th. Fifteen seconds later, it was another Matt, Popeck (1g) and with :13 on the clock, Tufano was nailing his 15th off another Campbell set up to close the half with the Hawks up, 10-6.
The onslaught continued into the second half. Tucker Brown with his 11th and Bohmer hitting for his 30th to push it to 12-6. After a Sharks scoreless string of 7:49, Snelders ended the Hawks’ run. Brown quickly countered to start a back and forth, the goal for goal affair. Snelders and Anderson each hit net as well as Richie Lacalandra (1g) for the Sharks. With :19 to play, Doran closed the quarter with a 15-9 score.
Teo Domic (1g,1a) nudged it to 16-9 with the goal for goal continuing with Villari netting his 13th for LIU. Snelders broke the trend putting it to 16-11. Anderson and power-play goals from Tufano and Evan Campbell (1g,6a) brought it to an end.
By the Numbers
Shots were 45-28 for the Hawks who doubled the Sharks with shots on goal, 32-16. LIU turned the ball over 21 times to 13. Ground Balls heavily favored the home team, 45-24. Zach Cole was 23 for 32 from the “X” and gobbled 14 loose balls to become the first Hawk to record 300 ground balls and now has 310. Hawks soar with 19-11 victory.
Offensively, we shared the ball, dodged with purpose, and shot it pretty well,” said head coach Taylor Wray following the win. “Early on, we had some opportunities I thought we could have finished to separate in the first half, but I’m sure they felt the same way. The final five minutes of the first half was the difference in the game. To go from 6-6 to 10-6 during that span gave us a little breathing room. What I love about our team is that we aren’t a one-man show. Everybody contributes in different ways each game.”
Zach Cole“I am very grateful to be put in this position and have the opportunity to play for this program and break the record,” said Cole after the game. “It feels great that it happened in a big game where I was able to help the team get a win.”