BOSTON, Mass. – Senior Chris Hanafin (Burlington, Mass.) scored five goals, including the game-tying strike with 1:06 left in regulation and the game-winner with 27 seconds remaining in overtime Tuesday afternoon, lifting fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Boston to a dramatic 9-8 victory over fifth-seeded Plymouth State University in the opening round of the Little East Conference Men’s Lacrosse Tournament at the Clark Athletic Center.
Hanafin’s third goal of the game tied the score at 5-5 midway through the third quarter, but PSU scored three unanswered goals over the next 12 minutes to take an 8-5 lead with nine minutes left in regulation play. But the Beacons and Hanafin took over, rallying to tie the game late in regulation and adding the game-winner in overtime.
Hanafin also scored in the closing minutes against PSU in last year’s regular season contest between the two schools, breaking an 8-8 tie and leading the Beacons to a 9-8 win in Plymouth. The Beacons also defeated the Panthers earlier this season in Boston, 13-9.
UMB, 7-6 overall, advances to Thursday’s 5:00 p.m. semifinal at LEC regular season champion and undefeated Keene State College (13-0, 6-0). PSU, which had its five-game winning streak stopped, fell to 9-6 and awaits a possible ECAC New England Tournament berth, which will be announced on Monday.
Junior Adam Krinsky (Concord, N.H.) led the Panther offensive effort with three goals and one assist. Freshman Kyle Belanger (Southington, Conn.) contributed a goal and two assists, and classmate Wes Downing (Glastonbury, Conn.) added a goal and one assist. Juniors John Cogswell (Jefferson, Mass.) and Tony Aguiar (Northborough, Mass.) and freshman Tim Hadley (New London, N.H.) also scored for the visitors, and junior Mike Russell (Concord, N.H.) chipped in with two assists. Hadley came up with a game-high 10 ground balls.
The Beacons scored the first two goals of the game and led 3-1 in the first quarter before PSU tallied four unanswered goals to take a 5-3 lead with eight minutes to play in the second quarter. UMB got one back before halftime and Hanafin tied it at 5-5 with 8:29 on the third-quarter clock. Krinsky scored twice and Downing once as the Panthers took a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter, but the Beacons would rally for the win.
Hanafin’s five goals gives him 50 points on the season, becoming just the second player in school history to notch 49 or more points in four different seasons. Sophomore Bobby Cusack (Braintree, Mass.) finished the day with a goal and two assists, and sophomore Peter Kovach (Cohasset, Mass.) and junior Nick Thomo (Brookfield, Mass.) each notched a goal and an assist.
Senior goalie Nicholas Eaton (Rowley, Mass.) stopped nine shots to earn the victory for UMass Boston, while senior Steve Valeri (Chelmsford, Mass.) made 11 saves for the Panthers.
(Courtesy of UMass Boston Sports Information)
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