April 18, 2009
BALTIMORE - After Fairfield scored the game's first goal, No.15 Loyola responded with five unanswered and kept its foot on the pedal the rest of the way, cruising to a 12-7 victory over the Stags on Saturday behind hat-tricks from attackmen Collin Finnerty and Shane Koppens.
Coupled with a Massachusetts loss, the Loyola win, which was seen by 2,104 fans at a sunny Diane Geppi-Aikens Field, gives the Greyhounds (8-4 overall, 5-1 ECAC) a half-game lead in the league standings. The Minutemen, however, hold the head-to-head advantage in the series.
"I think that we came out early with a lot of intensity," said Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey. "We were winning face-offs, picking up groundballs and playing hard, and we were able to maintain the momentum."
Fairfield (6-5, 3-2 ECAC ) opened the game with a long-goal from Nick Baglio, but Loyola rebounded with a 5-0 spurt.
Freshman J.P. Dalton ignited the run with a score off a face-off for his first goal of his career. A Koppens goal provided Loyola with a 2-1 lead, which it wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way. The putaway came at the 9:40 mark, as the attackman got into the interior of the defense and buried his shot high.
Two consecutive goals by Finnerty made it a 4-1 Loyola advantage. With 8:48 left, he spun free from his defender and sent a screamer into the top-right of the net. Just 37 seconds later, Finnerty again found the net, this time on a bounce shot from the top of the arc.
A 15-yard goal from Mike Sawyer, assisted by Koppens, ended the run and put Loyola up 5-1 after the first period.
The Stags opened the second period with a pair of goals from John Snellman and Chris Trombine to make it a 5-3 game. Midfielder Jake Willcox had the answer just 25 seconds after Trombine's goal, though, with an unassisted bury after a pretty juke move to avoid his defender.
Fairfield's Chris Ajemin cut the Loyola deficit to two, 6-4, with 7:46 left. Finnerty, though, would get the hat-trick with 35 tics left off an assist from Koppens, and Loyola took a 7-4 lead into intermission.
Both teams remained scoreless for nearly half the third quarter before a goal by Fairfield's Chris Ajemain cut the lead to two, 7-5, with 8:13 left.With 6:23 left, Eric Lusby scored off a long shot from the outside, and Koppens would score his second of the day with 1:51 left off a feed from Taylor Ebsary to give Loyola a comfortable four-goal cushion, 9-5.
A nifty goal by Koppens-- as he had his back to the goal and sent a shot behind his helmet--gave the Tewaarton finalist his third of the game and provided the Hounds their biggest lead of the game, 10-5, a minute into the fourth period.
The teams would go scoreless for the next 10 minutes before Matt Langan scored an unassisted goal with 4:14 remaining. Cooper MacDonnell earned his team-high 28th goal of the season two minutes later on a man-up opportunity, swelling the Loyola lead to seven, 12-5. Fairfields' Brent Adams and Graham Bergsma tallied goals over the last minute for the final tally.
Koppens led eight different Loyola goal-scorers with five points while Finnerty added four. The Greyhounds, who came into the game third in the country in groundball margin, won the category, 38-33, and outshot the Stags, 42-29.
Jake Hagelin made nine saves and allowed just five goals in over 57 minutes of action in goal.
The Greyhounds return to action on Saturday, April 25, at 1 p.m. when they host Hobart in the regular-season home finale.