NASHUA, N.H. – The Rivier University Raiders (6 – 6, 2 – 5 GNAC) came up just short on the heels of a strong 3 goal rally, falling to the Becker College Hawks (4 – 8, 3 – 3 GNAC) 8 – 7. In a Great Northeast Athletic Conference match-up, the Raiders held the visitors in check through the midway point of the 2nd quarter. Becker struck for two goals down the stretch in the 2nd and added another tally to open the 3rd, breaking a 2 – 2 tie and building a 5 – 2 lead on Rivier. Clark Plummer (Fr, Londonderry, NH) made 12 saves in the 2nd and 3rd quarters alone, keeping the home team within three heading into the final quarter.
Rivier was led by Clark Plummer in goal. He finished with 19 saves on 27 shots on goal, out of 37 total shots for the visitors. Plummer's effort in the cage allowed the Raiders to stay within striking distance and mount their 4th quarter comeback. On the field, the Raiders were lead by Rob Auer (Fr, Salem, NH) 2 goals, 1 assists, 1 ground ball, David Bray (Fr, West Suffield, CT) 2 goals and 9 ground balls, and Brandon Hanifin (Fr, Tewksbury, MA) 1 assist, 5 ground balls.
The visiting Hawks were paced by John DeAngelis (Jr, Swampscott, MA) had 1 goal and 4 ground balls, his lone goal happened to be his 100th career point. Joe Ignagni (Sr, Kingston, MA) 3 goals, 2 assists, 2 ground balls, Jeff Petersen (Sr, Syracuse, NY) 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 ground balls, David Deschenes (So, Gales Ferry, CT) 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 ground balls, and Cody Leary (Fr, Sandwich, MA) 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 ground balls. Becker's defense was backboned by goalkeeper Michael Munoz (Sr, Avon, CT) with 6 saves.
The Raiders took the early lead on a strike from Danny Hooper (Jr, Wakefield, RI) with an assist from Kevin Dembkoski (Fr, Salem, NH) at the 2:21 mark. Clark Plummer made the lead stand up through the 1st quarter, shutting the visitors out for the first 15 minutes and turning away all seven of the Hawks shots. The 2nd quarter was a tight defensive match through the halfway point. Becker pulled ahead with a 2 – 1 lead, on goals from Joe Ignagni and Matt Matson (Jr, Worcester, MA). Rivier tied the score at 2 with a strike from Ryan Woolaver (So, Tewksbury, MA) and an assist from Auer. The Hawks added two more strikes with goals from David Deschenes and Cody Leary to take a 4 – 2 lead into the half. C. Plummer kept the contest tight with 7 saves as Becker pushed the pace and fired 18 shots in the quarter.
Becker pushed their lead to 5 – 2 in the 3rd quarter on a goal from Jeff Petersen, assisted by Ignagni, just 40 seconds in. The Raiders responded with two strikes, the first from Auer followed up by a man down goal from Danny Connelly (So, Bedford, NH) and pulled within one at 5 – 4 with just over 5 minutes to play in the 3rd. The Hawks added two more strikes from Ignagni, assisted by Leary, and a man-up tally from John DeAngelis, assisted by Petersen, and pushed their lead to 7 – 4 to close out the quarter.
Becker added another tally from Ignagni to open the 4th quarter and pull ahead by four goals, 8 – 4. The Raiders kept working, battling to gain possession and set up offensive looks. Sticking to the task, and trying to break down Becker's efforts to work the clock with possession play, the Raiders were rewarded late in the final quarter. In a man-up situation, David Bray was able to power into the slot and fire home a goal to cut into the lead to 8 – 5 with 3:45 to play. Brandon Hanifin had the assist. Bray struck again just over 2 minutes later and the Raiders were within two, 8 – 6. Gaining possession on the face-off, River tallied again in a man-up situation with Auer striking on an assist from Kyle Graham (Fr, Londonderry, NH) just 14 seconds after their last goal. With 1:29 to play the score was tight at 8 – 7. On the ensuing face-off, a six man scrum broke out as the teams jostled for the ball and Bray was able to gain control. Bray broke through fierce pressure with the ball and was able to drive a pass into Auer at the top of the crease, but as Auer shifted between two Hawks defenders to look for shooting space, one of the defenders was able to rattle the ball loose and Becker regained the ball. It was a nice play from the two Raider freshmen, but came up just short of getting a good scoring opportunity.
With the loss, the Raiders fall to 6 – 6 on the season. The Raiders return to action on Wednesday afternoon, April 10th, when they face GNAC opponent Daniel Webster College at 4:00 pm in an away contest. The Hawks, climbing to 4 – 8 overall, will play another GNAC contest against Saint Joseph's in a home contest on Wednesday, April 10th, at 7:00 pm.