BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh defeated Albany 2-0 Tuesday night in a non-league matchup as the Mountain Hawks connected on a pair of goals in the second half. Kevin Strunk had the game-winning goal in the 66th minute while Brian Suchoski added an insurance goal when he scored his first-career goal in the 71st minute. Lehigh out shot Albany 21-9 as the Mountain Hawks have taken 44 shots in their last two games.
“I think we are doing better and we are getting guys in good scoring chances and we are finishing those chances,” said head coach Dean Koski. “We just want to keep putting pressure on teams and that’s what we need to do.”
Lehigh had a couple opportunities in the first half to score as Joe Puleo found himself in close but the Albany keeper was there both times to make the save. Twenty minutes into the second half with the match scoreless, a loose ball found Strunk who was there for the strike and found the back of the net for his second goal of the season. Then five minutes later, Suchoski dribbled past a couple of defenders to find space and struck a great ball to tack on Lehigh’s second goal. Both goals were unassisted.
“In the second half, we came out with better intentions on both sides of the ball,” said Koski. “Once we got that first goal, it was a bit of a relief and then Brian’s goal was huge because it gave us a cushion. Brian has been really pushing to try to get that first goal and I’m really pleased for him.”
The Mountain Hawks have now scored four goals in their past two games after scoring seven goals in 11 games before that. Lehigh also had 10 corner kicks to Albany’s one as the Mountain Hawks hold a 15-2 corner kick edge in their past two matches.
On the defensive end, Lehigh produced its ninth shutout of the season as the Mountain Hawks entered the match nationally ranked in three defensive categories. Lehigh ranks No. 2 in goals against average (0.30), No. 2 in saves percentage (0.927) and No. 4 in shutout percentage (0.67). Keeper Ciaran Nugent made two saves on the night for the clean slate.
Albany was led by Brandon Wilson who had three shots while Jeff Pierre had two shots, one on goal.
Lehigh will return to league action when it travels to face Holy Cross Saturday at 3 p.m. The Mountain Hawks currently sit tied for third in the league with seven points while the Crusaders are still looking for their first league win.
“If we can start to get on a role and do well on both sides of the ball and build momentum, that is important,” said Koski. “Holy Cross is going to be a tough match on the road and it's an important opportunity for us to get three points. You won’t get those points if you don’t score so however we just have to keep scoring goals.”