The stats said one thing. The scoreboard — and Hofstra coach Seth Tierney’s grim expression — said another.
“A tough one tonight,” Tierney said after the Pride turned the ball over late and allowed a goal by Fairfield’s Travis Ford with 21 seconds left in a 5-4 CAA defeat Friday night at Shuart Stadium.
Ford’s shot, off a feed from Joe Rodrigues, was from long range and beat goalie Jack Concannon, who made nine saves. “It was a deep shot. I’m not sure if he was screened,” Tierney said. “It all goes under a microscope when they score after we had the ball. But you can’t win a lacrosse game when you score only four goals. You just can’t win that way.”
Ryan Tierney (his 19th), Dylan Alderman, Jimmy Yanes and Brett Osman (his first) scored for the Pride (5-5, 1-1 in CAA), which got the ball back after Ford’s goal on a faceoff win by Kyle Gallagher. “We got the timeout and set up a play. They didn’t drop off Ryan so Dylan took the shot,” Tierney said of Alderman’s last second shot from the high slot that was handled by Max McGuire, who made eight saves, several that were far more difficult than the final one.
“They didn’t do anything special on defense, but we just missed the goal an awful lot,” Tierney said.
Among the stats that favored Hofstra were shots on goal (30-22), faceoff wins (13-3) and turnovers (12-16). Hofstra was also successful on 18 of 19 clears as opposed to 16 of 20 for Fairfield.
But the Stags erased a 4-2 deficit in the fourth quarter. Former Cold Spring Harbor star Colin Burke scored two unassisted goals to tie it, the second one with a pretty fake-high, fire-low maneuver at the left crease with 7:45 left.
Hofstra had several opportunities to take the lead, but misfired — they had only 12 shots on goal — before the turnover that gave the ball back to the Stags. “You look at the stats and you think we’re doing OK,” Tierney said. “But if you don’t bring it in the CAA, this is what happens.”
What happened is that Hofstra put itself in a tough spot to win the CAA regular-season title and host the conference tournament on May 3 and May 5. The Pride plays it final regular-season home game next Saturday against Delaware before road games at Drexel and Massachusetts.