WORCESTER, Mass. – Sophomore Brian Brennan (Stoneham, Mass.) notched his first career hat trick, including a pair of goals in the first half to bring the Cougars back from an early 2-0 deficit, as Clark University stormed to a 4-2 victory over Western New England in a non-conference matchup at Granger Field.
Score: Cougars 4, Golden Bears 2
Records: Clark University (7-4) | Western New England (7-2-1)
How it Happened:
Western New England came out strong, needing just 1:47 on the clock to take the lead as Corey Brown found open space on the offensive end of the field before burying his shot from atop the box for the 1-0 lead. In the 13th minute, the visitors doubled up the advantage on a breakaway chance when Brendan Claflin guided his shot to the lower left corner of the net and just out of the reach of Melvin Vincent (Rochester, Mass.) in the Cougars net.
With plenty of time remaining, the Cougars were able to regroup on both ends of the field, chipping away at the lead in the 27th minute when Brennan found the back of the net on a feed from senior captain Sean Munroe (Silver Spring, MD.). The Cougars were able to even up on the scoreboard just six minutes later, and again it was Brennan on the strike in unassisted fashion.
Clark University used the momentum generated from Brennan to grab the lead, and it would be a pair of freshmen putting the Cougars ahead in the 39th minute as defenseman Connor Fitzgerald (Topsfield, Mass.) recorded his first collegiate assist with Ezekiel Palmer (Vergennes, VT.) making good use of a long through-ball for the 3-2 advantage.
In the 46th minute, Brennan finished off the hat trick and the scoring for the night as the sophomore logged his fifth goal of the season, tucking the ball into the top right ninety of the target off a corner kick entry pass.
The team's clashed in the middle of the field for the remainder of the half with the Golden Bears holding a 4-2 advantage in shots down the stretch. But the visitors were unable to get another goal past Vincent who recorded six saves on the night to collect his fourth win of the year between the pipes.
Clark University held a 16-12 lead in shots throughout the contest along with a 6-3 advantage in corner kick opportunities. The victory also marked the fourth time this season the Cougars offense was able to score four goals in a contest.
Clark University returns to action in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) on October 5 when Springfield College comes to the Granger Athletic Complex for a 1:00 pm showdown.