BALTIMORE – UMBC continued to play suffocating defense and won for the third straight time, defeating Hartford, 8-3, on Senior Day before 1,380 fans at UMBC Stadium.
The Retrievers improved to 5-7 overall and 3-2 in America East play. Hartford slipped to 3-9, 0-5. The three-game winning streak for UMBC is its longest since a four-gamer in 2011.
UMBC entered the game ranked eighth nationally in defense (8.09 goals allowed per game) and has permitted just five goals in the last two contests. The Retrievers held Hartford scoreless for 32:09 in the middle stages of the game.
Freshman attackman Steven Zichelli (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) led the offense by posting his second three-goal game of the season. Junior attackman Jack Andrews (Arnold, Md./St. Mary’s ) and junior midfielder Billy Nolan (Crofton, Md./Arundel) added a goal and two assists apiece
UMBC freshman goalkeeper Tommy Lingner (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) continued his superb play, coming up with nine saves in 59 minutes of work. Lingner, who entered the game ranked fifth nationally in goals against average, lowered his mark to 7.16 and has made 33 saves and allowed 12 goals in his last three outings.
UMBC never trailed, and led, 2-1, after 15 minutes on goals by Zichelli and junior midfielder Zach Kalas (Annapolis, Md./Archbishop Spalding). The Hawks would tie the score on a Griffin Feiner goal 4:01 into the second quarter, but Andrews gave the hosts the lead for good with a hard left-handed rocket from the right alley just after the midpoint of the stanza.
Nolan also scored in unassisted style with 51 seconds to play to give the Retrievers a 4-2 halftime lead.
Senior midfielder Max Haldeman (York, Pa.) took a cross-field feed from Andrews and scored 4:02 into the third quarter and Zichelli notched his second goal with just under two seconds left to provide UMBC with a 6-2 advantage heading into the fourth.
After freshman attackman Brett Baucia (Crofton, Md./Archbishop Spalding) converted a Nolan feed to the crease early in the fourth quarter, Zichelli completed his hat trick and put his side up, 8-2, on a nice inside feed from Haldeman.
UMBC caused half of Hartford’s 20 turnovers, including a season-high four by senior LSDM Billy O’Hara (Davidsonville, Md./Archbishop Curley). O’Hara now has a new career-high 21 caused miscues this season.
Feiner and Trevor O’Brien each had a goal and a helper for Hartford. Starting netminder Ryan Vanderford made 10 saves against 28 Retriever shots, as UMBC held a slight edge, 28-25, on the shot counter.
The Retrievers conclude the regular season at Vermont on Friday evening, April 27. UMBC must defeat the Catamounts (10-3, 3-2 America East) to earn a spot in the America East Championships. Albany, Stony Brook and Vermont already have spots sewn up.