Even when freshman Justin Mabus scored the game-winning goal off a pass from senior Matt Lamon with 38 seconds left in the second overtime period, many spectators were stunned at what they witnessed.
For the first 48 minutes, No. 20 Hofstra dominated virtually every phase of the game. When Tyler Begley scored a man-up goal with 12:04 remaining, the Pride owned an seemingly-insurmountable 9-3 lead. In addition, the Pride had dominated action to the extent that they were outshooting the Tigers, 29-15.
At that point, the game turned completely, stunning the Hofstra fans who had already started celebrating a victory.
With hardly any indication of what was about to transpire, the Tiger offense came to life with 11:27 remaining. The Tigers scored three goals over the next 3:09, cutting their deficit to 9-6.
After Thomas DeNapoli scored off a pass from senior Carl Iacona, the Tigers were presented with their first extra-man opportunity of the night. With 9:35 remaining, senior Michael Brashears scored an extra-man goal off a pass from Thomas DeNapoli to cut the deficit to 9-5. Senior Matt Lamon scored off a pass from Thomas DeNapoli with 8:18 remaining to pull the Tigers to within 9-6.
Over the next few minutes, Hofstra successfully ran time off the clock. With 4:09 left, the Pride turned the ball over, setting up the Tiger comeback. After the turnover by Hofstra, the Pride never had the ball again in regulation.
With 2:58 left, the Tigers pulled to within 9-7 when senior Sean Maguire scored off a pass from Matt Hughes. Then, junior Ian Mills won the faceoff to give the Tigers a chance to pull closer.
With 2:03 left in regulation, Lamon picked up a loose ball in front of the cage and fired a five-yard shot into the goal, pulling the Tigers to within a goal, making it a 9-8 game.
Mills won another faceoff, giving the Tigers a chance to tie the game. With two seconds remaining in regulation, Thomas DeNapoli broke free on the left side and scored the game-tying goal.
It was his third goal of the game, matching a career high.
As the teams went into a once-unlikely overtime period, the Tigers were hoping to continue their domination. In the final 12:04, the Tigers outshot Hofstra by an 11-0 margin and forced three turnovers.
After Mills won the opening faceoff of overtime, the Tigers controlled the ball for the entire period, missing on two shots to try to end the game.
In the second overtime, Hofstra won the opening faceoff. With 2:16 remaining, Steve Serling took a shot from out front, which was saved by Andrew Wascavage. In the battle for the loose ball, senior Mike DeNapoli of Hofstra was called for two penalties, an illegal cross-check and an unsportsmanlike conduct. That gave the Tigers a man-advantage for two minutes.
After the Tigers missed their first two shots, freshman Justin Mabus drilled an eight-yard shot from the right side off a pass from Lamon, giving the Tigers a win in a game in which they trailed by six goals.
It was the Tigers' largest second half comeback to win. The previous record was a four-goal deficit at Loyola in 2001. The Tigers trailed Loyola by 10-6 midway through the third quarter before exploding for a 19-14 victory.
“This team never gives up,” said Towson Coach Shawn Nadelen. “Even though we were down by six goals, we just kept playing hard. We got some momentum and we kept winning faceoffs. The closer we got, the more excited we became.”
The win enabled the Tigers to extend their winning streak to four games as they moved into a tie for first place in the CAA. It also ended the Tigers’ four-game losing streak to the Pride and was Towson’s first win at Hofstra since 2004.
Thomas DeNapoli led the Tigers with a career high six points. He matched his career high with three goals and had three assists. Lamon added three goals and an assist.
“I knew Thomas would have a big game,” said Nadelen. “Watching him warm up, I could tell he was really focused and very determined.”
For the Tigers, it was their first overtime win since 2005, ending a five-game losing streak in overtime games.
The Tigers will be seeking their fifth consecutive win on Wednesday night when they host UMBC.