(Milford, CT) – Steven Legatto (Kelowna, BC) made a season-high 50 saves, but the Niagara Purple Eagles pulled out a 3-2 win over the Sacred Heart Men's Hockey team Saturday afternoon at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Niagara controlled the play for the beginning of the first period, taking a quick lead on a goal by Robert Martini off an assist by Dan Baco 1:41 into the game. C.J. Chartrain made it 2-0 on the power play with a blast from the left point set up by Marc Zanette.
The Pioneers responded with a much better second half of the opening period, with Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MB) forcing a turnover on the forecheck, and scoring his fifth goal of the year skating from the half boards into the slot for a five-hole wrist shot.
Legatto stopped all 19 shots in the second, including a couple brilliant stops on Marc Zanette alone in front of the net and a post to post save on Jeff Hannan on a two-on-one break with Isaac Kohls. Eric Delong Oakville, MB) nearly tied it once on a one-time wrist shot that hit the right post, and almost set up a game-tying goal a shift later on a two-on-one break with Gingera, who's one-timer was denied by Niagara goalie Cody Campell (32 saves).
Delong did eventually tie the game in the third, letting go a one-time snap shot off a feed from behind the net by Gingera. Kyle Verbeek (Bloomfield, MI) earned the secondary helper at 7:10. However, Zanette knocked in the game-winning goal on rebound off a right-point wrist shot by Kevin Ryan, set up by Jeff Hannan.
The Pioneers go for the series split Sunday, November 27, at Webster Bank Arena at 6:00 p.m. Sacred Heart is 4-1-1 at Webster Bank Arena over the last two years, including an upset 7-6 win against #8 Yale last Tuesday night.