AMAZING! Connolly's OT Goal Lifts No. 14 UMass Past Hobart, 7-6
April 11, 2009
GENEVA, N.Y. - After Tim Balise sent the game to overtime on a goal as time expired in regulation, classmate Jim Connolly scored 23 seconds into overtime for a dramatic 7-6 OT win. A match-up of two of the top goalies in the nation lived up to expectations as UMass' Doc Schneider and Hobart's Max Silberlicht were both sensational as No. 14 UMass stayed undefeated in the ECAC at 4-0. Schneider, who came into the game fifth in the NCAA in goals against average and fourth in save percentage, made a career-high 21 saves. His counterpart came into the game just behind Schneider in both categories. Silberlicht finished the game with a career-high tying 18 saves. The ECAC's first place team, UMass stands 7-3 overall. Hobart has lost five games in a row to stand 5-5 overall, 1-4 in the ECAC.
In overtime, UMass face-off man Joe Reale gutted out a win against Hobart's Nunzio Doldo which was scooped up by Stephen Zorkers. Zorkers zoomed down the right side and took a shot which was stopped by Silberlicht but Connolly grabbed the rebound and scored his only goal of the game beating the goalie from the left side. That led to a wild celebration on the field and UMass posted a miracle win against Hobart for the second year in a row. Last season, Balise scored with 7.3 left in regulation to tie the game at 7-7. Peter McNichols netted that game-winner 1:19 into the extra session.
This Saturday, Balise scored on a wild scramble off a frantic full field rush in the final seven seconds in regulation. The referees convened for a minute before ruling the goal good. It was his third goal of the game giving him his 10th career hat trick. Will Jeffery, Art Kell and Ryan Marcus scored UMass' other goals.
Hobart's Jeff Colburn gave the Statesmen a 6-5 lead with 4:59 left in regulation which looked to be the final goal before UMass staged its fireworks. Colburn worked his way to the goal and beat his defender to give Hobart a 6-5 lead.
Hobart scored two goals in impressive fashion in the first 3:01 of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 5-5. Tyler Cassell beat Schneider on the right side with 11:59 left in regulation to tie the game. That came on the heels of Kevin Curtin's goal 1:07 into the fourth off his own groundball pick up after a Schneider save.
UMass' third-quarter tallies broke a 3-3 tie. Off a botched Hobart possession, junior long-stick Jeffery scored from about 30 yards out as Silberlicht had come out of his goal. The goal, the first of Jeffery's career, gave UMass a 4-3 lead with 3:29 left in the third. Sophomore Marcus pinballed in a shot from 10 yards which bounced off both pipes and in with 2:21 left in the third for a 5-3 edge.
Hobart snapped a scoreless span of 29 minutes on two goals by Chris Pedersen in a span of 14 seconds to tie the game at 3-3 with 8:11 left in the third. Balise had given UMass a 3-1 lead on a man-up feed from Evan Blum 52 seconds into the third quarter.
UMass held a 2-1 lead at halftime as Schneider made 12 saves and Silberlicht stopped nine.
UMass had its longest scoreless stretch of the season to open the game, as Hobart kept the Minutemen off the board for the first 22 minutes before a pair of goals, both coming on spin moves gave UMass a 2-1 lead. Kell got UMass on the board with a double spin behind the goal and beat Silberlicht on a jump shot from the left hand side with 7:49 left in the first half. Balise then scored after a spin move and beat Silberlicht on the left side as well with 6:32 left in the second.
Hobart scored the only goal of the first quarter as the Statesmen converted a 6-on-4 man-up opportunity as Jeff Colburn scored 7:31 into the action. UMass was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season.
The Minutemen return to Amherst to take on No. 19 Georgetown at Garber Field on Saturday, April 18 at 12 Noon. The game will be UMass' Senior Day, as its will be the final regular-season game at Garber. On April 25, UMass hosts defending NCAA Champion Syracuse at McGuirk Stadium at 1:30 p.m. The program is seeking to break the all-time UMass attendance record of 12,143 set in 1989, at that game.
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