ALBANY, N.Y.--Albany built a 14-3 lead by halftime and defeated defending NCAA champion North Carolina, 15-12, in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night at Casey Stadium. Albany improves to 15-2, while Carolina's season ends at 8-8.
Bennett Drake scored five goals for the Great Danes, while Adam Osike had three goals and two assists and Connor Fields had a goal and four assists. Chris Cloutier tallied five goals and an assist for the Tar Heels. Luke Goldstock scored twice, and Timmy Kelly had a goal and two assists.
UNC opened the scoring with 10:18 left in the first quarter on an ESPN highlight worthy goal by Chris Cloutier. His behind-the-back goal gave the Heels a 1-0 lead and marked the 20th successive game in which Cloutier has scored a goal. Adam Osika was involved in the next two goals for Albany. He scored on a rebound at 8:08 to tie the game and then assisted on a goal by Kyle McClancy to put the Great Danes up 2-1 at 6:58 of the first quarter.
Albany scored another two quick goals to take a 4-1 lead with 4:53 left in the first quarter, forcing a Tar Heel timeout. Bennett Drake scored off an assist by Connor Fields at 6:15 of the period before Mitch Laffin tallied just over a minute later. Laffin's goal was assisted by Justin Reh and put Albany up 4-1 with 4:53 left in first quarter.
The Great Danes ran off two more goals to build their lead to 6-1 with 2:36 left in the first quarter. The goals came from Drake Bennett at 4:28 and by Sean Eccles at 2:36. William McBride got one back for the Tar Heels with nine seconds left in the quarter but Connor Fields scored six seconds later to put Albany 7-2 at the end of the quarter.
Albany outshot the Tar Heels 16-7 in first quarter with Albany scooping up 10 ground balls to UNC's four. Albany also won all 10 face-offs in first period of play.
Jack Pezzulla came on in goal for the Tar Heels to start the second quarter but Albany's offense continued to click at a high level. Bennett Drake scored his third goal of the game at 13:54, assistsed by Connor Field. At 9:53, Kyle McClancy scored unassisted for the Great Danes and just 42 seconds later Drake scored his fourth goal of the first half to make it 10-2 in favor of Albany. Albany then ran its lead to 11-2 with an unassisted goal by Kyle McClancy with 7:43 left in 1st half. Forty-three seconds later, Albany made it 12-2 on a goal by Eli Lasda assisted by Connor Fields.
The Tar Heels responded with an extra-man goal by Timmy Kelly with an assist by Cloutier at 2:55 of the second quarter but Drake and Osika scored before halftime for Albany to make it 14-3 in favor of the Great Danes at halftime.
In the first half, Albany outshot the Tar Heels 27-12 and had a 21-9 edge in ground balls. The Great Danes won 15 of the 19 face-offs in the first half of play.
The Tar Heels came out in the third quarter and scored the first three goals of the period before the media timeout. Jack Rowlett scored off a face-off win 14 seconds into the period. Chris Cloutier then drove past three defenseman to score an underhanded goal with 7:37 left in the quarter. UNC scored its third straight goal as Luke Goldstock scored off an assist by Andy Matthews with 4:10 left in the period.
The Tar Heels would go on to score three more goals before the end of the quarter. Chris Cloutier notched his hat trick at 3:03 off an assist by Brian Cannon. A little over a minute and a half later Justin Anderson scored an unassisted goal to make it a six-goal deficit. Cloutier then scored his fourth goal of the game off an assist by Timmy Kelly with 14 seconds left before the end of the period.
The Tar Heels continued their goal-scoring run by tallying their seventh in a row as Jack Rowlett scored on a transition opportunity with 13:29 left in the fourth quarter. Luke Goldstock added an unassisted goal at 10:42 of the period and then the Tar Heels pulled within two goals when Chris Cloutier scored his fifth goal of the game off an assist by Timmy Kelly with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter. Neither team scratched for the next four plus minutes before Adam Osika scored shotly after a timeout by the Great Danes with 5:49 to play to put Albany up by three goals. The Tar Heels were unable to chip away any more at that point in the game.