Hempstead, NY –Red-shirt freshman Cole Shafer scored his fifth goal of the game 43 seconds into the third overtime to lead the second-seed Drexel Dragons to an 11-10 come-from-behind victory over the Hofstra Pride in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game at James M. Shuart Stadium Saturday night.
The Dragons, who recorded their first CAA Championship, will advance to their first NCAA Championship Tournament next week with the field of 18 teams to be announced Sunday night at 9 p.m. Drexel is 12-4 on the year.
In addition to Shafer’s five goals, Nick Trizano tallied three goals and Ryan Belka added two goals and one assist. Ben McIntosh added a goal and four assists and was named the Championship Most Outstanding Player. Shafer, Belka and Trizano were also named to the CAA All-Championship team.
Hofstra, which is 11-5 on the season, will have to wait until Sunday night to find out if the Pride will receive their 18th bid to the NCAA Championship as an at-large team. Senior attacker Torin Varn
scored four goals and tallied an assist and fellow senior attacker Lance Yapor
and junior midfielder Mike Malave
both posted two goals and one assist for the Pride. Varn, Malave and junior Ryan Rielly
were all named to the CAA All-Championship team.
Hofstra built a 10-7 lead and carried it into the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, but Drexel made a furious comeback starting with Shafer’s head-on shot off Ben McIntosh’s feed. Nick Trizano capped his hat trick effort with an unassisted tally that cut Hofstra’s lead to 10-9 with 3:15 remaining before Ryan Belka scored the tying goal with 2:45 remaining.
Both defenses stood tall in the three overtime periods. The Pride came out strong in the first overtime period, generating four shots to Drexel’s one. Hofstra then recorded the only shot-on-goal in the second overtime on senior midfielder Drew Coholan
’s shot. But Drexel goalie Will Gabrielsen made one of his 13 saves to send the contest to the third overtime. The contest marked the longest game in Hofstra’s CAA Tournament history. It was also the second three-overtime contest that Hofstra and Drexel have played at James M. Shuart Stadium in the past two seasons after an 8-7 Drexel victory in 2013.
Both teams forced turnovers to start the third overtime before Shafer took Jules Raucci’s feed and scored the championship-clinching goal from the left wing.
After the first quarter ended in a 2-2 tie, Shafter and Trizano sandwiched a Drew Coholan
goal in the second to take a 4-3 lead at halftime. Gabrielsen made nine of his 13 saves for Drexel in the first half while Hofstra junior goalie Chris Selva
making six of his 10 stops in the first 30 minutes.
Shafer scored his third of the game 1:37 into the third to boost the Dragon lead to 5-3. But Hofstra went on a five-goal run in the rest of the period, with Malave and Llinares scoring the first two and Varn posting the next three to give the Pride an 8-5 at the end of three quarters.
Belka and McIntosh scored for Drexel in the first 7:21 of the fourth to close to 8-7. But Hofstra responded with goals from Yapor and Malave to boost the lead to 10-7 with 5:00 to play setting up the Drexel comeback.
Hofstra outshot Drexel, 38-35 and picked up 35 ground balls to the Dragons 34.