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Bentz's three goals leads Hofstra to first win

B-B-B-Bentz(y) and the Pride.

The chorus to Elton John's classic "Bennie and the Jets" was a familiar sound in the second quarter of No. 11 Hofstra's 15-12 nonconference men's lacrosse win over No. 19 Brown Saturday afternoon at James M. Shuart Stadium.

That's because the Pride's Stephen Bentz (who got the nickname Benny from his teammates) recorded all three of his goals in a 5:48 span of the second. They pay homage to his scores by blasting the famous song on the stadium speakers.

In addition to his first career hat trick, Bentz, a Massapequa product, also had a pair of assists to spur the Pride (1-1).

"I don't know how that started," the redhead said about the song. "They just started playing it after one of my goals."

If the first two games are any indication, they're going to be playing it quite a bit more this season. Bentz, who moved from midfield to attack after Kevin Ford went down with a foot injury in the preseason, already has five goals, one shy of his entire 2009 total.

His first Saturdaycame with 13 minutes, 22 seconds left in the second quarter off an assist from Dan Stein to give Hofstra a 2-1 advantage, a lead it would not relinquish. "The ball was coming to me pretty easily," Bentz said, "and I was able to find the white [of the net]."

Nothing came easy for either team in the first quarter, as the game's first goal didn't come until 13:45 in on Thomas Muldoon's shot from 11 yards out for Brown (0-1).

But Hofstra exploded for six goals in the second quarter. Steve DeNapoli tied the game at 1 on an unassisted tally, and Bentz scored three of the game's next five goals to make it 5-2 at the 7:34 mark.

Brown got within one at 12-11 with 9:23 to play on Reade Seligmann's third goal, but Hofstra scored the next three goals, including the second of the game from both Brad Loizeaux and Mike DeNapoli (Lynbrook), to ice it.

In goal, freshman Rob Bellairs (Plainedge) made seven saves for his first career win.

According to Pride coach Seth Tierney, the victory was big for his club after last week's 17-14 loss at No. 8 Princeton.

"I don't think everyone realizes the amount of weight we've been carrying around this week," Tierney said. "This week [felt like] it lasted about 21/2 months . . . We're taking small steps. It's not a beauty contest."

It certainly wasn't a thing of beauty for the Pride. Six of their penalties led to four goals by the Bears. The infractions ranged from a cross check by West Islip's Christian Scuderi to an unsportsmanlike conduct on a late hit from Long Beach's Mike Skudin. Tierney acknowledged these penalties need to be addressed before No. 5 Johns Hopkins comes to town Saturday.

"We've got a monster coming in this week," the coach said before adding this quip - "hopefully Elton John is available on Saturday night."

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