CAA Embraces THUNDERDOME! Chaos

via cdn.newsday.com

THUNDERDOME! does what THUNDERDOME! wants, and what THUNDERDOME! usually wants is chaos.

And that's what THUNDERDOME! got last night.

Hofstra -- they of "bubble-in" status going into Wednesday evening -- lost to Delaware last night at home, 10-9. The Pride fell behind the Blue Hens 5-2 at the half and, despite a furious comeback late in the fourth quarter, couldn't quite summit the mountain:

Smith opened the final quarter with his third goal of the game just 22 seconds it to push the UD lead to three but Ford responded with consecutive goals for Hofstra to narrow the gap to 8-7 with 8:58 left to play. Kaleikau fed Sean Finegan for a goal with 6:20 left to break the Hofstra string and Kaminski added some insurance with an unassisted goal on an empty net with 2:35 left.

It turned out that Kaminski’s goal would be much more than an insurance tally. Hofstra refused to let up as Ford scored for the fifth time with one minute left and Lincoln tallied at the 44 second mark to cut the lead to 10-9.

Hofstra, which won 14 of 22 faceoffs, won the ensuing draw and set up in hopes of sending the game into overtime. Fossner made a lunging save on a rifle shot by Braddish with 23 seconds left and Ford’s shot with 13 seconds remaining went wide. Delaware regained possession but Fossner turned the ball over, giving Hofstra another chance. However, the Pride could not get another shot off and Delaware’s Matt Stefurak picked up a loose ball to clinch the victory.

Delaware -- they of almost flat-line status entering the THUNDERDOME! Tournament -- moves on to the championship battle royale.

Meeting the Hens will be Massachusetts.  The Minutemen vanquished Penn State in Happy Valley last night in an overtime slugfest:

Junior Anthony Biscardi scored 1:37 into overtime to cap a furious comeback by the #15/16 UMass lacrosse team on Wednesday night to give the Minutemen a 10-9 win at Penn State. UMass will host the CAA Championship game with a berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS 3 Now. UMass (10-4) beat Delaware last Friday night, 11-5 at Garber Field.

The game had so many twists and turns. Perhaps the biggest play of the game came in the final seconds of regulation as freshman Reed Goodhue made his first save of the season with just seconds remaining after starter Tim McCormack (15 saves) was penalized. That came shortly after UMass had been penalized twice with 1:46 left in regulation.

The Minutemen rallied back with nine goals in the second half and overtime, including a season-quarter-best seven in the third quarter. Art Kell had three of his game-best four goals in that third quarter.

Just because it's fun to write: The THUNDERDOME! title will go to either the league's third or fourth seed, two teams that maintained "bubble-out" status entering last night's death matches.

The big question remaining is what will become of Hofstra's NCAA at-large candidacy.  As it stands currently, the feeling among most folks is that Hofstra is still in the field, but it's close.  If you're feeling saucy about The Pride, it wouldn't hurt for any combination of the following to occur over the next few days:

  • Denver doesn't screw the pooch in the ECAC Tournament.
  • Stony Brook doesn't mail it in during the America East final against Hartford.
  • Notre Dame takes care of business against North Carolina on Friday.
  • Harvard and Yale bow out of the Ivy League Tournament as soon as possible.
  • Hopkins takes care of Army at Michie Stadium.
  • Massachusetts beats Delaware in the THUNDERDOME! final.
  • Maryland beats Colgate.

Now, some of these outcomes could negatively impact Hofstra's RPI, RPI strength of schedule, and RPI quality wins (the Pride own wins over Harvard and Colgate, and rooting for them to lose would deflate Hofstra's nitty-gritty paper resume.)  When in a fight for a tournament slot, however, Hofstra has to hope to look like the "least ugly" of the "somewhat pretty" girls.   Similarly situated teams on the cusp of invitation that grab wins where Hofstra failed could ultimately doom the Pride.

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