(Photo Courtesy of UMass Athletics)
The UMass Minutemen started strong and finished strong, as they took down Hofstra 16-10 on the road on Tuesday afternoon in one of the most high-profile CAA games of the season. The win for UMass comes just one week after suffering their first loss of the season at the hands of non-conference rival UAlbany.
Tuesday’s contest marked the first of two contests between these two during the 2021 regular season. The Minutemen will host the Pride in Amherst on April 9th in a rematch that is surely going to be just as hyped up, if not more, as the first contest was.
Led by a six-point (2G/4A) outing by Devin Spencer, the Minutemen offense got off to a fast start with Spencer and Billy Philpott, who ended with two goals and two assists, scoring the first two goals of the game. And while Justin Sykes was able to get Hofstra going with two of his own just minutes later, a three-goal UMass run that bled into the second quarter saw them get up 5-2.
UMass continued to pad their lead, ending the half on a four-goal run to take a 9-4 lead into the locker room, as well as the majority of momentum. Gabriel Procky, who ended with four goals and two assists, was part of three of those four goals to end the half for the Minutemen, assisting on one and scoring two of his own.
In addition to the Minutemen’s offensive dominance in the first half, UMass was able to hold Hofstra’s leading scorer, Ryan Tierney, pointless through the first three quarters of play. The Minutemen’s constant double-teaming of the fifth-year senior saw him end with just two goals off 10 shots and five turnovers. Both of his goals were scored in the fourth quarter.
With Tierney unable to find any success for the majority of the contest, Justin Lynskey stepped up and was the primary offensive weapon for Hofstra in the contest. Lynskey ended with two goals and three assists for five points.
Matt Knote recorded six saves in the first half of play (13 overall) to anchor the UMass defense and really limited the Pride’s offense chances in the first half. He made multiple impressive saves in the second quarter that held down the Hofstra offense.
Hofstra fought back hard in the third quarter, in part due to Brian Herber continuing to find success at the faceoff dot and going 5-for-4 in the third alone (16-for-13 on the day). The Pride won the first five faceoffs of the second half, which included two violations on UMass, to help them score the first two goals of the third and cut the UMass lead to three (9-6) early in the quarter. And while UMass was able to answer, Hofstra cut it to three two more times in the quarter.
Interestingly, all but one of the Pride’s goals in the third quarter were initiated from behind the cage, as they were able to exploit the holes in the Minutemen defense from that position almost every time. Hofstra also scored two first-half goals running the ball through X.
A two-goal run, which included a momentum-gaining pole goal in transition from Ryan Fitzpatrick pushed the UMass lead back out to 13-8 heading into the final frame. And while the Pride were able to get two goals from Tierney in the fourth, the Minutemen ended the game on a three-goal run to seal the deal and claim the victory.
Team-wise, UMass won the ground ball battle 37-28. Hofstra outshot UMass 37-24 but both sides put 23 shots on cage. UMass committed 19 turnovers (nine in the third quarter alone) as opposed to 16 for the Pride.