Tonight under the lights in Baltimore at Loyola University, the Naval Academy Midshipmen lost in the Patriot League Semifinals to Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
The first quarter started out hot with a Navy goal by Jack Ray in 1:13. The goal was his 24th of the season, and not his last. Another goal was added just one minute later by local talent Greyson Torain, to make the score 2-0 Navy. While playing man-up, Dave Little ripped a shot at the 1pm angle to make the score 3-1. Almost immedately, Lehigh answered with a rip shot of their own; score 3-2. Ray came to the rescue with 4:41 to play in the first quarter, to make it 4-2.
Coming into this game, we knew it was going to be a physical, rough game. The game was broadcast on CBS Sports Network, and while sitting on your couch at home, you could hear the officials yell (to someone), “If you say another word, you’re gonna cost your team a minute.” Everyone was wrapped up in the game.
Despite Lehigh scoring for a third time, as the quarter ended, we remember that Navy was the first on the board, and never lost that lead. The story changes as we head into the second quarter.
Two minutes, forty-two seconds into the second quarter (12:18), Lehigh tied the game at four a piece. It was not until 5:28 that Lehigh was the next goal; 4-5 Lehigh. As the clock was drawing near the 1:00 left of play, a second counter popped up on the screen… the Drought Clock. It had been nearly 18 minutes that Navy last scored. Saved by the bell, halftime called, Lehigh 5, Navy 4.
This time, the first goal of the quarter took 3:14 to happen, and it was by Lehigh, but Navy would come back with a goal within nine seconds! The goal was scored by freshman Jeff Durden. Lehigh scored once more, then Navy with local Casey Rees‘s 13th goal of the season. Just two minutes later, Little tacked on another goal to tie the game 7-7. To retake the lead, Ray became Houdini. While double teamed/trapped, with his back to the goal, he did a little cross-the-body flip-backhand number, for a hat-trick. Navy 8, Lehigh 7, end of the third.
Fourth quarter started with a Lehigh goal, then a Lehigh player’s hat-trick goal (Lehigh 9, Navy 8), then an official got sassy as “shut your mouth” could be heard over the broadcast. Fourth quarter, close game, all the emotions. As the clock ticked to 5:00 to play of the quarter/game, Navy’s Christian Daniel tied it up as the last goal of regulation.
Yes, overtime. The first team to score, wins. Sudden death.
Lehigh won the faceoff, got into position, and called for a “timeout”. The strategy that the Mountain Hawks pulled together worked, as Lehigh is advancing to the Patriot League Championship Game on Sunday, at noon, versus Loyola Greyhounds.
Patriot League awards have been announced, and Navy’s Joe Varello was named “Faceoff Specialist of the Year”.