WESTON, Mass. - With two minutes remaining in double overtime in a match headed for a scoreless draw, Nighthawks freshman Kobe Barnes (Hartford, Conn.) scored the only goal on the afternoon, keeping the Nighthawks undefeated in conference play with a 1-0 victory over the Mitchell College Mariners on Saturday afternoon from Pride Field.
In the 109th minute of the match, the Nighthawks offense finally clicked for the game-winner. The play started with a ball into the offense third by freshman Richard Silva (Pompano Beach, Fla.). The pass found the feet freshman Warren Exceus (Boston, Mass.) around the top of the box. Exceus slid a short pass to Barnes, who managed to find a pocket of space and struck a beautiful shot into the left side netting.
"I knew the clock was winding down, two minutes left, at that point, you have to take your chances," said Barnes. "But my teammates kept us in it, kept me in it, and it was a rough 108 minutes but it paid off and that's what we like as Nighthawks."
The goal is Barnes third of the season and first career game-winning goal. Exceus earned his sixth assist of the season and now has at least a point in three consecutive matches.
Few quality opportunities occurred in the 108 minutes on the afternoon. Mitchell's best opportunity came off a corner kick with the ball finding sophomore David Hernandez (Norwich, Conn.). His strike from about 20 yards out just missed the right side of the goal prior to the end of the first half.
Nighthawks junior Chris Tran (Nantucket, Mass.) picks up the win, improving to 3-2 this season and 3-0 in the New England Collegiate Conference. Mariners junior Seth Strader (Preston, Conn.) takes the loss, falling to 3-7. Strader finished with three saves.
The Nighthawks improve to 7-3-1 (3-0 NECC) and have won six of their last seven matches. The Mariners drop to 3-7 (2-2 NECC) following the loss.
"We're a pretty young team but the thing that's so nice about it is the upperclassmen are all supportive and that's a big thing," said Barnes. "(The upperclassmen) are like our 12th man, they bring the energy and it helps us settle in."
The Nighthawks return to play on Tuesday night, traveling to Eastern Nazarene for a 7:00 p.m. match. The Mariners return Wednesday as they host Suffolk University in non-conference play at 3:30 p.m.
It's the first 3-0 start in the NECC for the Nighthawks since 2015.