Hofstra's Tom Dooley had a moment of complete clarity in the fog and mist that hovered over Shuart Stadium last night.
"When Ryan Carter took it behind the net I knew he was comfortable operating there," Dooley said of the late-game maneuver. "When I saw him beat his man, I cut to the crease."
Dooley took the pass, flipped it past Charlie Paar with 1:36 remaining and No. 9 Hofstra (10-2) emerged with a gritty, exciting 12-11 comeback victory over Stony Brook (7-5) before a crowd of 1,309.
"It was a set play and I finished with a nice little quick stick," said Dooley, who scored three goals. "I've had a few game-winners before, but the latest one always feels the best."
Especially considering that Hofstra was flat for much of the game, trailing at the half 8-4 and entering the fourth quarter facing a 9-6 deficit. Then coach Seth Tierney's message, finally, was received. "The key word was energy," Dooley said. "We were lackadaisical in the first half. We came out firing and were a little more physical at both ends."
No one fired more than Kevin Ford. The freshman attack from Floral Park scored a career-high five goals, three in the fourth quarter. He scored consecutive goals at 7:20 and 5:46 to tie the game at 10. "I just shot the ball better. I had a good shooting percentage," said Ford, who scored on five of his nine shots on goal. "I was kind of wayward on my shots in the beginning of the year."
Not last night, as Ford scored the first goal of the game and added another in the third quarter before leading the six-goal fourth-quarter barrage. "When you score the first goal, you're confident and you feel like you're on a roll," Ford said. "I got open and the guys just put it on my stick."
Ford said that Tierney gave a fiery halftime speech. "He tried to inspire us," Ford said with a grin. "Basically, he said we were knuckleheads for putting ourselves in that position."
After Ford put the Pride in a good position with his tying goal, Jay Card's third goal of the game on a left-side bullet gave Hofstra an 11-10 lead with 2:21 left. Jordan McBride retied it with his fourth of the contest just 13 seconds later. That set the stage for Dooley's dramatic moment and left the Seawolves feeling as if they let one slip away.
"A couple of mistakes at the end," McBride said, referring to two costly turnovers that led to late goals. "We're a young team and we've got to keep working on stuff. It'll come together eventually. We played a good game against a good team. I think we should've won."