ALBANY, N.Y. – Down four in the fourth quarter, the #5/5 UAlbany men’s lacrosse team roared back with a game-ending 5-0 run vs. #12/11 Yale, with Mitch Laffin netting the winner with 34 seconds left, to grab a 13-12 victory at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium.
UAlbany (11-2) trailed 12-8 to Yale with 12 minutes to play in the game. The Great Danes scored the next five in the final 11 minutes to earn its biggest comeback of the season, capped by Laffin’s fourth goal of the season, in fornt of 3,205 at Casey Stadium.
“This matchup with Yale has been a one-goal game the last two years, and we knew tonight would be nothing different,” said UAlbany head coach Scott Marr. “We talked throughout the week and the game of it being 60 minutes. I am so proud of my group, what an unbelievable effort.”
With 1:43 left and a tie game, a Bennett Drake shot was saved by Yale keeper Phil Huffard. As Yale was trying to clear, Connor Fields caused a turnover on the end line on a Yale defender. On the shot clock, Drake drew a double and passed off to Laffin straight away, who ripped a shot inside the post for the score. UAlbany won the next faceoff and ran off the clock for the victory.
“Bennett [Drake] found me on the outside, and I just closed my eyes and let it go,” said Laffin. “I was told to shoot far side on the pipe, and that’s what I did.”
The game saw each team take 40 shots, with UAlbany outshooting Yale 13-8 in the crucial fourth quarter. Of Yale’s 16 turnovers, UAlbany caused 12 of them.
Drake had a team-high four goals, adding the game-winning assist to Laffin. Fields finished with three goals and two assists while Kyle McClancy got two goals and one assist. Defensively, JD Colarusso notched the victory with 12 saves in net while Troy Reh had three caused turnovers and four ground balls.
For Yale, Joseph Sessa tallied three goals and one assist while Jason Alessi had a hat trick from the midfield. Huffard had the loss with 11 saves.
Yale got a goal in the opening minute, then held on an UAlbany possession to score the other way. UAlbany rolled off two quick goals, with Fields hitting a ground ball shot while falling down and TD Ierlan racing after a won faceoff, dropping off to Justin Reh for the bounce shot into the goal. Yale got the goal back minutes later to lead 3-2 midway through the first.
After some back and forth, UAlbany again got a pair of quick goals in the closing minutes of the first, taking advantage of a Yale turnover at midfield for Fields to score on the doorstep then Eli Lasda dodging twice off a pass to score from the middle. UAlbany led 4-3 after one.
UAlbany scored first in the 2nd as Drake faked out a defender off a fake shot, throwing a laser into the goal. UAlbany held for the next eight minutes with two caused turnovers and two saves, but Yale ended the quarter on a 3-0 run, with three different goal-scorers, to lead 6-5 at the half.
Yale continued its run into the third quarter with three more in the first seven minutes, capped by two Alessi goals, to go up 9-5.
UAlbany found success again in the quick strike offense, seeing McClancy ripping the ball for a score after a clear. Minutes later, Jake Cullen got the ball out of a scrum in the corner, throwing off to Sean Eccles for the shot and score. In the closing minute of the third, a perfectly executed catch and shoot on the run from Fields to Drake made it 9-8 after three.
Conor Mackie won three faceoffs for Yale to begin the fourth, all leading to Bulldog goals. Yale led 12-8 in the fourth before UAlbany had possession in the quarter.
Ierlan got a faceoff back leading UAlbany to offense. On the third shot attempt by Fields, he scored shooting low while being knocked down. UAlbany cleared and called a timeout, leading to Drake swimming off a defender and scoring off a high shot, pulling UAlbany within two with 8;07 left.
Troy Reh forced a turnover on a won faceoff by Mackie, leading to McClancy sniping a shot over the goalie’s shoulder. Next chance, Lasda caused a turnover on Mackie, and after an exchange of possessions, UAlbany got a man-up chance. UAlbany passed around the horn to Drake next to the goal crease for the score, tying the game with 2:59 left.
UAlbany won the faceoff, with Huffard saving a Drake shot, but Fields forced the turnover on the defender attempting to clear. With the shot clock on, Laffin scored his shot straight away off the pass from Drake. Troy Reh won the final faceoff and UAlbany ran out the clock, leading to the 13-12 UAlbany victory.
UAlbany will wrap up the regular season next Saturday, April 29th, hosting Hartford at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium at 7 p.m. For ticket information for all remaining home games, visit ualbanysports.com/tickets or call the UAlbany ticket office directly at 518-442-DANE.
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