Springfield, Mass. - May 2, 2018 - Springfield College's Tom Hurley (Goffstown, N.H.) found the back of the cage in transition with 37 seconds left in overtime to propel the Pride to a 12-11 win over Babson in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Semifinals on Wednesday afternoon at Stagg Field.
With the win, Springfield College advances to its conference championship game for the 19th-consecutive season and will play for an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship on Saturday against either Coast Guard or MIT.
The Pride, which improved to 12-5 with the victory, avenged an earlier 11-8 setback to Babson on April 7 which was Springfield's only conference loss in the regular season. Despite making an incredible fourth-quarter push to force overtime, Babson's season comes to a close with a 9-7 record.
Joe Hawley (Poulsbo, Wash.) delivered a career-high five assists to go along with a goal to pace Springfield, while Hurley was dynamic for the hosts with five goals. Duncan Preston (South Portland, Maine) registered two goals and an assist and Jake Reynolds (Scituate, Mass.) was credited with 18 saves between the pipes.
Babson owned a 49-33 edge in shots for the game, won 16 of the 27 face-offs, and had a 32-23 advantage in ground balls.
For the visitors, both Niall Dillon (Duxbury, Mass.) and Mason O'Hanlon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) had two goals and two assists, while Samuel Mishkind (Chappaqua, N.Y.) and Austin Fabel (East Rockaway, N.Y.) each netted a pair of goals. Christopher Aranalde (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) recorded 13 saves in the overtime loss.
After Babson opened up the game with a strike Dillon at the 9:46 mark, Springfield responded with three unanswered goals to close the first quarter to take a 3-1 edge. Hurley evened the game just 40 seconds after Dillon's marker as he curled around the cage and stung the top shelf before Tommy Nash (Massapequa, N.Y.) potted a lefty rip at the 5:46 to give Springfield its first lead of the game. With just 13 seconds remaining in the quarter, Hawley buried an awesome Cole Pecora (North Haven, Conn.) feed to give the Pride a two-goal advantage.
O'Hanlon pumped in an unassisted goal 40 seconds into the second quarter, only to have goals from Preston and Pecora at the 12:21 and 4:03 marks allow Springfield to gain a three-goal cushion. Babson would get back on the board with 1:11 on the clock when Thomas Jung (Vienna, Va.) made a spectacular catch and score on the crease, but Springfield would net the final goal of the half as Hurley got free out of a timeout to bury a cross-crease pass from Preston with seven ticks remaining.
Babson again scored the first goal of the quarter in the third when Owen Allen (Franklin, Mass.) bounced home a shot at 9:51, before Hurley delivered back-to-back strikes 2:37 apart to push Springfield's lead to 8-4 with 5:13 on the clock. The offenses for both teams would heat up in the waning moments of the third, as they combined for five goals in the final 4:04, including a pair by Mishkind, to make it a 10-7 game in favor of the Pride with 15 minutes to play.
Preston ripped a bounce shot on the run just over a minute into the final quarter as the Pride regained a four-goal lead. However, Babson would control much of the quarter as they held a 13-3 advantage in shots and used unassisted goals from Dillon, Will Messner (South Kingston, R.I.), and Fabel to pull within a goal. O'Hanlon would eventually tie the game at 11 when he blistered a shot from 10 yards out for a goal that was assisted by Dillon, and the Beavers nearly won the game in regulation, but Dillon's bid with 11 seconds left rang off the post as the teams headed to overtime.
In the extra session, Springfield won the face-off but turned the ball over on its first possession. After Babson called a timeout, the Beavers were able to get a pair of shots off before Anthony Febbo (Yonkers, N.Y.) picked off a pass with under a minute to go and connected with Anthony Sullivan (Westfield, Mass.) for a transition opportunity. Sullivan wasted little time racing down the field before finding Hurley, who made no mistake as he delivered the game winner from 10 yards out.
Photos by Mark Finerty