March 14, 2012
Ten years ago, Siena and Hartford combined for 41 goals in a game. Today, the two programs came close to equaling that total. The Saints erupted for 10 goals in the second quarter en route to scoring their most goals in 14 years before holding on late to capture a wild 22-17 victory Wednesday afternoon in West Hartford, Conn.
The 39 combined goals scored were the second most in a game in Siena's (2-3) 48-year history, falling just short of the 41 tallies in that 29-12 defeat vs. Hartford (1-5) on Apr. 16, 2002. Additionally, the Saints' 22 goals were their most since a 23-13 win over Marist on Apr. 15, 1998.
The nation's eighth highest scoring team a year ago, Siena had gotten off to a slow start offensively in 2012. Despite returning eight of their top nine scorers from last season, the Saints had averaged just 7.5 goals through the year's first four games - the 10th lowest average in the country.
Today, Siena eclipsed their season average just 17 minutes into the game.
In a matchup of a pair of squads that each won their conference championships last season, the Saints peppered the Hawks cage early and often, reeling off a pair of five-goal runs in the first half to open up a 16-6 lead at the break. The teams' goalies combined for just three first half saves while allowing 22 goals.
Siena showed no signs of letting up in the second half, winning the opening draw and scoring yet again just 13 seconds in to the third quarter. But with things seemingly in the Saints' hands, Hartford made a big push.
The Hawks scored eight of the game's next 10 goals including five straight to cut their deficit in half and pull within 19-14 with 13:47 still remaining.
But Siena, which scored on all three of its fourth quarter shots, was able to do enough late to hold off the barrage.
On a record setting afternoon, a number of Saints set personal bests. Bryan Neufeld led the charge with a career-high 11 points and at halftime was more than halfway towards breaking the NCAA single-game record of 16 points. Off to a slow start to the year by his lofty standards, Neufeld, who stands as the nation's all-time career active leader in goals scored, put distance between himself and his competition with six scores to go along with his five assists.
Danny Martinsen and Chris D'Alberti also had career afternoons with Martinsen posting nine points including a whopping seven assists, while D'Alberti notched four tallies. Colin Clive also added four goals as the Saints defeated the Hawks for the sixth time in the past seven years.
Chris Roth was amongst a trio of Saints to score two goals, in the process becoming the 21st player in program history to reach 100 points for his career.
In a game where defense was at a premium to say the least, Tom Morr did his best in goal to help the Saints withstand the Hawks' late surge. Morr made 11 saves, with six coming in the final quarter.
Carter Bender paced Hartford with eight points on four goals and four assists, while Aidan Genik also tallied four goals. Martin Bowes added a hat trick and Ryan Compitello contributed seven points including five assists as the two teams combined for 68 points when things were all said and done.
The Saints conclude their month-long, six-game road trip to kick off the 2012 season Saturday with the conference opener at VMI. The Saints and Keydets faceoff at 1 p.m. in Lexington, Va.