It was the final game of the 2015 regular season and Hofstra needed to win at Fairfield to stay in play for a pass into the CAA tournament. But the Pride scored just four, fell by a goal and got cropped out of the four-team tournament picture — season over.
There would be no payback Saturday night at Shuart Stadium against the defending regular-season champion Stags in the CAA opener.
Senior midfielder Korey Hendrickson scored a career-high six goals and sophomore Jack Concannon made a career-high 16 saves for Hofstra. But Fairfield freshman attackman Colin Burke, who helped Cold Spring Harbor to a Class C state title last year, turned in the best game of his young college career with seven points on a hat trick and four assists.
And the Stags beat the Pride by a goal again, 9-8.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” Hendrickson said. “ . . . We prepared well and everything was great and we just fell off again by one. We kind of just tried to bury the hate with them last year and got geared up for this one.”
It was tied 6-6, and then Hendrickson untied it, unleashing a long-range rocket that beat Tyler Behring just 1:13 into the fourth. But Burke tied it again with 6:32 left.
“He was a man today,” Fairfield coach Andy Copelan said. “To see that type of poise and composure and competitiveness out of a freshman, that speaks volumes to the type of kid and person he is.”
Then Hofstra (6-4) found itself with two men serving penalties. Burke capitalized from in front with 5:35 to go, his 29th goal for the Stags (5-6). Burke fed Conor Dalton for another man-up goal, making it 9-7 with 4:15 showing.
Sam Llinares scored a man-up goal with 30 seconds left, setting the final margin.
“It was really special,” Burke said. “I had a lot of family here. I think just getting off with a win in the CAA is definitely a great start for us. Hopefully, we can continue to win.”
Hendrickson owned a hat trick at halftime when Fairfield led 5-4.
Coach Seth Tierney left undeterred about Hofstra’s CAA chances, saying: “We’ve got to make a couple of more IQ plays and not go man down that amount of times and finish the ball a little bit more, get a little bit more from a couple of other guys, and we’ll be right there.”