ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Loyola won just seven of 17 faceoffs on the day, but its seventh came at the right time and set up the game-winning goal by senior attackman Brian Schultz to lead the No. 1 ranked Greyhounds (10-1, 6-0 Patriot League) to a 7-6 double-overtime victory over Navy (4-6, 3-4 PL) Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.
It's the third straight game between the two programs that has been decided by one goal and the second to go into extra minutes. In 2010, Loyola topped the Mids in overtime, 8-7, in Annapolis and in 2011 the Greyhounds made a furious comeback to oust Navy, 9-8, in Baltimore.
“I'm so proud of my guys and the way we battled for 60 minutes and then some,” said third-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “It certainly hurts to lose a double overtime game, but we feel like we are right there.”
Navy jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the opening quarter, as senior attackmen Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.) and Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.), along with junior middie Gabe Voumard (Cape May, N.J.) tallied goals.
Loyola got to within one when sophomore midfielder Tyler Albrecht charged his way in from the left wing and poked his shot in from the crease with 11:33 to play in the second.
Loyola, though, would get the final say in the opening half, as pat Laconi fed Ryan Fournier on a transitional goal off a Navy turnover to trim the deficit to one (4-3) at the break.
Navy came out of the locker room and again gained some breathing room when Hull scored his second goal of the game, this one on a goal-line extended shot that somehow made its way past Loyola keeper Jack Runkel.
The Greyhounds put together a 3-0 run that began with a sneaky bouncer by redshirt freshman Brian Sherlock that got past Navy keeper John Connors (Bellmore, N.Y.) at the 8:43 mark.
The Mids were not only called for a one-minute slash at the 4:26 mark, but at the same point lost starting defenseman Chris Fennell (Milford, N.J.) to a leg injury for the remainder of the game. The Greyhounds, who are ranked 12th nationally in extra-man offense, converted on the man-up set with senior attackman Justin Ward finding Kevin Ryan wide open five yards out for the game-tying goal.
Just over a minute later (2:53), Ward utilized a screen set by Pat Laconi to get free and fired off a 10-yarder that gave Loyola its first lead of the game a 6-5.
Navy freshman Brady Dove (Stevensville, Md.) won the faceoff to open the extra frame and got three solid looks. The first by sophomore attackman T.J. Hanzsche (Berwyn, Pa.) went high, however, off the restart Jones would find Hull cutting up the middle and his behind-the head shot skirted off Runkel's elbow before sailing off the far post.
“We hit the pipe, oh so close,” added Sowell. “Instead of it ziggin', if it zags it's a different outcome. At the end of the day, though, you have to give Loyola credit.”