(West Point, NY) – Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MB) and Eric Delong (Oakville, MB) both scored twice, helping lead the Sacred Heart Men's Hockey team to a 5-3 victory over Army Saturday night in the regular season finale to complete a weekend sweep of the Black Knights. With the win, the Pioneers bumped themselves up to the number 11 seed in next weekend's Atlantic Hockey Tournament and travel to Bentley to take on the sixth-seeded Falcons in the best-of-three first round series.
Gingera opened the scoring with a transition goal at 9:31, firing a glove side wrist shot after being sent streaking in on a rush begun by Chad Filteau (Regina, SK) and Mitchell Stretch (Saskatoon, SK). Andy Starczewski got the Tate Rink crowd of 2527 back into it a little over a minute later, scoring on a wrist shot from inside the blue line to the tie the game.
In the second, the Pioneers used a couple of special team goals to win the period. Anthony Yelovich (Little Falls, NJ) knocked in a rebound of a Will Rayner (Newton, MA) one-time blast set up by Alex Stuart (Sauk Rapids, MN) on the power play 1:38 into the period. Army tied it again at 6:11, when Zak Zaremba finished off a two-on-one with Danny Colvin with a right-wing wrist shot.
However, 1:22 later, with Army on the man-advantage looking for the lead, Delong blocked a blast from Mike Hull that caromed out to center, where he raced down the puck for a breakaway. He sniped a wrist shot under the crossbar for a shorthanded goal to give SHU a 3-2 lead. Gingera made it 4-2 at 15:20 with a spectacular goal , stick-handling through Maurice Alvarez's feet to go one-on-one with the goalie, before shaking down Ryan Leets with more stick moves and finishing it with a backhander. Filteau and Drew George (Regina, SK) sent him into the zone with a couple of nifty chip passes, giving George now a nine-game point streak.
Army came out strong in the third period, but Andrew Bodnarchuk (Saskatoon, SK) made the 4-2 lead hold up with 14 saves on 15 Black Knight shots in the final period. Delong put the game away with an empty net goal at 18:36, assisted by Reid MacLeod (Teulon, MB). Pat Ryan scored a harmless goal for his first career tally with 19 seconds left for Army. Bodnarchuk finished with 29 saves for his second win.
The Pioneers will take on Bentley at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena Friday, March 2 in the first game of the best-of-three series at 7:05 p.m.