Albany at UMBC: Three things to watch
As noted on Monday, UMBC has enjoyed tremendous success playing host in the America East Tournament, winning seven consecutive games at UMBC Stadium. The Retrievers (4-8 overall and 3-2 in the conference) will try to make it eight straight against Albany (4-10, 3-2), which nipped UMBC, 9-8, in overtime in a conference tournament semifinal in 2004. Here are a few things I will be looking for when the Great Danes and Retrievers meet on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
1. One key to an Albany win: Senior attackman Dave Brock leads the team in goals (30) and points (35), but he has had little help from the rest of his teammates. Only senior attackman Kyle Brunk has reached double digits in goals (10), and Brunk and junior attackman Matt Johnson and Derek Kreuzer are the only players to get at least 10 points. Brock has shouldered the load since season-ending injuries to junior attackman Brian Caufield (fractured jaw) and sophomore attackman Joe Resetarits (broken foot) and scored four goals in the Great Danes’ 12-7 loss to the Retrievers on April 17. Brock is going to need more contributions from his teammates if Albany hopes to advance to the tournament final.
2. One key to a UMBC win: Since naming freshman Adam Cohen as the starter in the cage, the Retrievers have surrendered an average of 8.8 goals and won three of the five games in which Cohen has played. Senior Matt Kresse leads a close defense that includes sophomore starters Tim Shaeffer and Aaron Verardi and senior Lance Ophof, but Cohen is the linchpin in the defense, according to coach Don Zimmerman. "After Saturday [when UMBC lost, 14-12, to Hartford], I felt that Adam made some nice saves for us, but I also thought that he let a few in that he should’ve had. Adam needs to understand that now he’s our starting goalkeeper, he’s got to be ready to play 60 minutes. Now he’s a freshman and it does take time for goalkeepers to kind of grow into the college game. But now we’re in crunch time, and Adam needs to come ready to play and understand that every save is a big save."
3. One key match-up: Great Danes freshman Matt Mackenzie has won just 119-of-278 face-offs for a .428 percentage this season, but one of his better showings occurred against the Retrievers when Mackenzie won 13-of-22 re-starts. UMBC junior J.D. Harkey and sophomore Justin Radebaugh combined to win just 6-of-22 face-offs against the Hawks this past Saturday. An improved performance by the duo could translate into more offensive opportunities and perhaps more goals.