Posted: April 23, 2006
BETHESDA, Md. – Lehigh hung tough with No. 17 Notre Dame all afternoon long, taking the lead on several occasions, but in the end the Fighting Irish had too much firepower, downing the Mountain Hawks 10-7 on Saturday on a neutral field. Junior Alec Hooff led the Brown and White with three goals, while senior Mike Moran dished out two assists and added a score. With the loss, Lehigh ends its regular season with a mark of 8-6, while Notre Dame improves to 8-4 overall.
Freshman Richard Cornetta got Lehigh on the board first when he netted an unassisted goal at the 11:11 mark of the opening quarter. Notre Dame then went up 2-1 on back-to-back goals from Brian Hubschmann and Ryan Hoff. Hooff would tie the score at two however, with his 12th goal of the season with 4:17 remaining in the first.
Stephen Marino then put the Mountain Hawks ahead 3-2 with his 21st score of the season off of a pass from Moran at the 13:25 clip of the second, and Hooff upped the Lehigh lead to two goals, with his second score of the day, this one coming with 11:57 to go in the second. Bill Liva would cut the Lehigh lead to just one with a goal at the 10:30 mark, and from there, neither team would score for almost six minutes. Peter Christman ended the scoring drought with his fourth score of the season, this one coming at the 4:44 clip, and the contest was tied at four. Pat Walsh then took a feed from Michael Podgajny at the 2:59 mark and found the back of the net, sending the Irish to a 5-4 halftime lead.
In the second half, Hubschmann fed Matt Karweck for a score at the 11:20 mark, and Notre Dame went in front 6-4. It appeared as though the third would end with no further offense, but the Mountain Hawks quickly ended that thought, as Moran and Hooff scored two straight times in a span of 1:28 and the two squads headed into the final quarter deadlocked at six.
In the fourth, Walsh opened the scoring with his second goal of the day, putting the Irish ahead 7-6. Moran then fed Michael Zurfluh for his seventh score of the season, and with just 4:35 remaining, the game was knotted at seven. Walsh took over in the final minutes however, scoring two straight goals in just 32 seconds to put Lehigh in a 9-7 hole. Hubschmann would add one more score late for Notre Dame to seal the victory. The Mountain Hawks had two goals called off earlier in the game that seemed to shift momentum towards the Irish, but Lehigh still had its chances late.
Lehigh was out shot 35-27 on the afternoon and won just eight of 21 face offs. The Fighting Irish scooped up 26 ground balls to the Mountain Hawks 21, while Lehigh forced 15 Irish turnovers and committed 19 itself. Eric Spirko got the start in goal for the Brown and White and played very well, sending back 12 shots on the day, while Notre Dame goal keeper Joey Kemp stopped ten shots in his 60 minutes of action. Senior captain Jeff King scooped up three ground balls for Lehigh, as did seniors Jeff Davis and Tom Weiss.
Lehigh returns to action on Friday, April 28 when the Mountain Hawks travel to Hamilton, New York for the 2006 Patriot League Tournament. The third-seeded Mountain Hawks will take on the No. 2 seed Navy on 7:00 in the second semifinal. Earlier in the evening, top-seed and host Colgate will tangle with the fourth-seeded Army Black Knights, beginning at 4:00. Lehigh’s contest with the Midshipmen will be broadcast live on lehighsports.com with Steve Lomangino providing the commentary.
Photos Copyright (2006), Walt Young.