Fairfield, Conn. - The Pioneers' four-game win streak ended as Hobart hung on for a 10-9 win at Campus Field on Saturday afternoon. The loss drops SHU's record to 1-1 in the NEC while the Statesmen improve to 2-0 in conference play.
Sophomore Logan Liljeberg fired a last-gasp potential game-tying shot from distance in the final seconds, but Hobart goalkeeper Sam Lucchesi's stick save preserved the win for the Statesmen.
The Pioneers were led by a three-point effort from two seniors, Connor O'Reilly and Joe Saggese. O'Reilly registered a hat trick and Saggese scored twice with an assist. Junior goalkeeper Brooks Dutton was sharp in the cage recording a season-high 17 saves, including eight in the second quarter alone. Senior defenseman Joseph Cipoletti led the team with a game-high seven ground balls and four caused turnovers.
O'Reilly opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game, while Dutton started off strong denying the first four Hobart shots on-target. With three minutes left in the first quarter, Hobart scored two consecutive goals to take the lead until Saggese answered back 29 seconds later before the end of the frame, tying the score 2-2.
Liljeberg and Jaden Walcot accounted for SHU's second quarter scoring. Twice in the first five minutes, the Pioneers took a one-goal lead, but each time Justin Scott equalized for the Statesmen. Liljeberg was quick to find the back of the net 41 seconds in, assisted by Drew Edwards. Three minutes later, Walcot received a sharp feed from Max Tuttle to score on a man-up opportunity. However, the Statesmen scored three consecutive goals to lead 6-4 at halftime.
The Statesmen extended their lead early in the third quarter, prolonging their 4-0 scoring run before SHU dominated the next five minutes. The Pioneers answered, with a 4-0 run of their own, with goals by four different players. Edwards started the SHU run with 12:47 remaining to break up Hobart's streak of four unanswered tallies. Reed Avveduti followed to cut Hobarts lead to one, before Saggese tied it less than a minute later in transition thanks to a crucial faceoff win by Jake Giaquinto. O'Reilly finished the sequence with his second goal of the day, taking back the lead 8-7. Hobart then regained the momentum with back-to-back goals to go up 9-8 heading into the fourth quarter.
It remained a one-goal game for more than 10 minutes, as neither team scored until Scott notched his third goal of the day to give the Statesmen a two-goal edge with 5:13 to go. Hobart's defense held SHU scoreless for 22:37 before O'Reilly completed his hat trick with 12 seconds left. Looking for their final chance to tie the game, Giaquinto won the face off to Kramer who dished to Lilgeberg for one last opportunity before the final horn. SHU's last-gasp shot attempt was saved by Lucchesi for his career-best 20th of the day, securing the Statesmen's second NEC win of the season.
SHU led the game with ground balls 33-31 and had seven less turnovers (23-16). Hobart led 56-54 in shots and 13-9 in faceoffs. The Statesmen took advantage of extra man opportunities going 3-for-5, while the Pioneers were held to 1-for-3.
The Pioneers are back on the road next Saturday to face Mount St. Mary's in an NEC matchup. Opening faceoff is set for 12pm.