April 25, 2009
BALTIMORE - Collin Finnerty scored four goals in the game's first 12 minutes, helping 14th-ranked Loyola jump out to a 7-1 lead, and three Greyhounds recorded three or more goals in a 16-7 ECAC victory over visiting Hobart on Saturday afternoon at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field on Senior Day.
The victory clinched at least a share of the ECAC Regular-Season title for Loyola. Massachusetts plays Rutgers next week and could tie the Greyhounds at 6-1 in the league. The Minutemen hold the tiebreaker for the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships by virtue of an 8-6 win on March 21 over the Greyhounds.
Before the game, 11 members of Loyola's senior class were recognized. And as they have so frequently during their careers, the group departed the field with the conference victory. The class leaves the Evergreen campus with a 22-6 record against ECAC foes and a 29-23 mark overall.
"This week was all about our senior class," said Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey. "They came out and scraped today and have really made a tremendous impact on our program. They have been an excellent group of guys-both on and off the field- and it's great to send them out with a win.
Loyola (9-4 overall, 6-1 ECAC) got on the board quickly as the Greyhounds' defense stripped the ball in front of the cage from Hobart goalkeeper Max Silberlicht, who tried to shoot after clearing the ball from his own end.
A goal by Jeff Colburn 2:49 in the game would tie the game, but Loyola ripped off six consecutive goals over the next 12 minutes. Stephen Murray put Loyola up 2-1 at 10:33 via a feed from Shane Koppens, who had three assists in the first half. Just five seconds later, John Schiavone controlled the ensuing face-off and raced upfield to find Finnerty for the goal.
Schiavone, along with senior Michael Atkinson, who went 8-of-11, helped Loyola go 15-of-26 at the face-off, the fourth straight game the team has controlled the X.
Finnerty earned the hat-trick at the 8:22 mark off a feed from P.T. Ricci. A goal by Cooper MacDonnell, as he backhanded a groundball into the net, stretched the Loyola lead to 5-1 with 3:16 left in the first period. Just nine tics later, Finnerty scored his fourth of the period, matching his career-high, off a feed from MacDonnell.
A Lusby bounce shot just 50 tics in commenced the second period and swelled the Loyola lead to six, 7-1. Two goals by Hobart's Jeff Colburn goal sandwiched around a Matt Langan unassisted putaway cut into the Loyola lead, and a goal by Tyler Cassell made it 8-4 in Loyola's favor going into intermission.
The Greyhounds took command of the third period, scoring three straight to open it up. On a man-up opportunity, Lusby would score his second with 9:23 remaining off a 15-yard shot assisted by Basler. A pretty goal by Jimmy Daly, as the senior juked two defenders to get penetration, stretched the Loyola advantage to 10-4.
MacDonnell would score his second of the afternoon and team-high 30th of the season with 6:17 left to close out the span. A goal by Matt Smalley with just one second left cut the Loyola lead to 11-5.
Four straight goals by Loyola commenced the fourth period and swelled the Loyola lead to its largest of the game, 15-5. Lusby and senior Jake Willcox scored the first two on unassisted putaways. Comer, inserted into the lineup late, had a breakout perforance. His scored his first-career goal with 6:46 left and followed it up with another, stealing the ball from Silberlicht for the goal.
Hobart's Kevin Curtin would find the net, and Comer earned the hat-trick with a putaway with 44 tics left. The Statesmens' Tyler Hill found the net with 14 tics left.
Loyola, which came into the game third in the nation in groundball average, won the category, 44-28 and outshot Hobart (6-5, 2-5 ECAC), 40-28. Atkinson scooped a team-high six groundballs and Schiavone had five.
The Greyhounds close out their season on Saturday, May 2, against Charles-Street foe Johns Hopkins. The game will begin at 1 p.m. and broadcast on ABC-2/ESPNU.
"The Hopkins game is obviously very big, but we've played enough of those games this year that I think our guys will come prepared, "said Toomey, looking for his third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. "We have to go out and play our game and not worry about anything else that's not in our hands."