Hoftra's #9 Mike DeNapoli attempts to score his fourth goal...

Hoftra's #9 Mike DeNapoli attempts to score his fourth goal of the game against Towson University. (March 31, 2012) Credit: Bob Mitchell

It was as if Towson had been sleepwalking for three quarters and suddenly jolted itself awake. The flip certainly caught Hofstra off guard in a 10-9 double-overtime loss last night.

The Pride (4-5, 1-2 Colonial) blew a six-goal fourth-quarter lead, surrendering the tying goal with 2.3 seconds left by Thomas DeNapoli. Justin Mabus scored the winner with 38.1 seconds left the second overtime to cap an improbable seven-goal Towson swing.

"One thing leads to another leads to another," a shaken Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said. "That proverbial quicksand -- before you know it, it's over your head."

It's the second consecutive game that Hofstra has blown a lead of at least four goals, and the Pride seemed to have this game in control after scoring the first two goals of the fourth to take a 9-3 lead.

But Towson (6-3, 2-0) crept back, one goal building momentum after the next, until it was 9-8 with two minutes left. The Tigers controlled the faceoffs in the fourth quarter, keeping possessions in their favor. Finally, with time winding down, DeNapoli slipped past defender Ryan Reilly and sneaked the shot past goalie Andrew Gvozdan to tie it.

Hofstra has lost three games in overtime this season. The Pride hadn't lost to Towson at home since 2004. "It's not good enough for me, for Hofstra and for our guys," Tierney said. "We've got to get better."

The comeback was impressive considering how ineffectual Towson's offense had been the previous three quarters. Solid footing was a struggle on a slick field at Shuart Stadium, and Hofstra's defense looked commanding early on.

At halftime, the teams combined for more turnovers (17) than shots on goal (16). Hofstra had a 4-2 lead in the first half.

Hofstra's Mike DeNapoli -- Thomas' cousin -- scored a hat trick in the first half. But he was held without a point after that.

And Towson's faceoff specialist, junior Ian Mills, had a dominant fourth-quarter stretch that set the table for Towson's comeback. Penalties on two Hofstra players in the fourth quarter and second overtime also proved crucial.

The Pride blew a four-goal lead in a 6-5 loss to Drexel last Saturday. Now Hofstra has some serious work to do to earn a fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

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