ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Junior long pole Pat Kiernan (Ridgewood, N.J.) and senior goalkeeper Nolan Hickey (Garden City, N.Y.) anchored a stout defensive effort that surrendered just three goals in the first three quarters of play, as Navy scored an 11-7 victory over Detroit Friday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It’s the first time Navy has gotten off to a 2-0 start since 2009 when the Mids beat VMI (13-5) and Ohio State (8-6).
“We had a big defensive effort tonight and Nolan made some big saves for us,” said second-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “I felt like our defense could match up pretty well against their attack and we did a nice job of containing them.”
Detroit took a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the game when senior defenseman Jamie Hebden intercepted a Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.) pass and ran the length of the field before finding junior attackman Shayne Adams for the first of his game-high four goals.
Navy finally tied it up just before the quarter break when Jones picked off Detroit goalkeeper Chris Kelly right in front of Detroit’s goal and Kelly then grabbed hold of Navy junior attackman Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.). The official whistled Kelly for the hold and Jones quickly took the ball and fed Hull on the crease with 1:20 to go in the quarter.
The Mids scored the first two goals of the second quarter, including a beauty by sophomore midfielder Gabe Voumard(Cape May, N.J.), who fired off a shot running left to right from 12 yards out to give the Mids a 3-1 advantage.
Detroit cut the lead to one, 3-2, when redshirt freshman Damien Hicks won the faceoff following Voumard’s goal and took it straight to the goal.
Navy, however, put together a run scoring three goals in two minutes and 27 seconds, including a perfectly-executed play with junior attackman Austin Heneveld (East Hampton, N.Y.) playing behind the goal and finding Hull who cut up the middle and was left untouched. The run was capped by junior Sean Price’s (Millersville, Md.) second goal of the year, giving the Mids a 6-2 lead at intermission.
The Mids scored just 37 seconds into the second half when Hull punched in his third goal of the game on a shot that Kelly never saw. With nearly no angle, Hull fired the shot from the left side, leaving Kelly stunned.
Freshman Patrick Keena (Vienna, Va.) gave Navy an 8-2 lead when he took a pass from junior middie Erik Hoffstadt(Dover, Del.) and sent his side-winder in on an extra-man play.
After being held scoreless for nearly 19 minutes, Detroit finally got on the scoreboard as Alex Maini’s cross-the-field pass was deflected by Hickey into the stick of Adams who was standing at the crease and scored his second of the evening.
The Mids scored three of the next four goals, including a man-down goal by Kiernan to give Navy 11-1 advantage with 8:16 to go in the game. It’s the second straight game Navy has scored a man-down goal and marked the first time since 2006 that Navy has scored two man-down goals in a season.
The Titans, however, mounted a run of their own scoring three goals over the next three minutes, including back-to-back strikes by Maini and sophomore midfielder Mike Birney less than a minute apart. The rally would fall short as neither team scored over the final 4:30.
Hull paced Navy with his 10th-career hat trick, while his three-assist effort on the night pushed his career total to 43 and now stands tied for 20th all-time on the Mids assists list. Eight different players accounted for the remaining eight goals, including Kiernan who is the nation’s seventh-leading active scoring defenseman with 12-career points on nine goals and three assists. It was Kiernan’s first goal of the 2013 campaign. Additionally, Kiernan, who was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week this past Monday, turned in a career-high 11 ground balls and forced two turnovers.
“Pat Kiernan is special,” added Sowell. “He’s a tremendous defender and has a nose for the ball. Not only can he pick up the ball, he manages to battle sometimes with three or four guys draped all over him.”
Hickey, meanwhile, made a career-high seven saves for the Midshipmen, including three doorstop saves in the second quarter.
“Nolan played unbelievable tonight,” said Kiernan. “He was able to make some big saves and we just built off of that.”
Navy’s faceoff game continues to be sufficient as senior Evan McGoogan (Cranberry Township, Pa.) had one of his best games in a Navy uniform, winning 10 of the 15 draws he took, while rookie Sean Reilly (Doylestown, Pa.), who was 13 for 18 last weekend against VMI, won two of his five faceoffs against the Titans.
“Evan pretty much did everything from the x tonight and made it easier for the wings for sure,” said Kiernan. “He played a great game.”
Adams led the way for Detroit with five points on four goals and one assist, while Kelly turned in 11 saves and gave up all 11 goals.
“Wins are hard to come by in this sport, so I think we are going to enjoy our second win of the season and then get back to work on Sunday.”
The Midshipmen will be back in action on Tuesday afternoon when they travel to Connecticut to battle 16th-ranked Fairfield. Game time is set for 3:00 pm. The game will not be available on radio, however, an audio broadcast will be carried live on Navy All-Access with Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller calling the action.