WATERTOWN, Mass.— Faced with a 1-0 deficit heading into the third period, the Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team scored four consecutive goals to pick up the 4-1 win over Bentley in game one of the Atlantic Hockey first round series on Friday night.
The Falcons (11-17-7, 10-12-6 AHA) were the first team to light up the lamp as Alexey Solovyev collected the rebound off the shot by Matt Riggleman at 10:36 in the first period. Both teams fought to a scoreless second period, sophomore Brett Magnus made 14 saves for the Pioneers the period.
Bentley entered the third with a 9-0-1 record when leading after two periods of play on the season. The Pioneers (13-17-5, 10-15-5 AHA) were determined to get on the board, coming out firing to start the third period. SHU tied things up 2:13 into the final period as sophomore Mike Crocock collected the loose puck off freshman Austin McIlmurray's shot and fired it home into the open net. The tally was Crocock's first collegiate goal. Freshman Vito Bavaro broke the even score halfway through the third as he put the backhanded shot past Bentley goaltender Aidan Pelino off the feed from senior Evan Jasper. After a Bentley timeout, the Pioneers won the face-off in their own zone and worked the puck into the Bentley zone with sophomore Stephen Hladin connecting with senior Justin Danforth on the centering pass for the open score at 17:23. Sacred Heart iced the game at 4-1 with an empty net goal by Hladin off the assists from senior Jordan Minello and Danforth. Danforth recorded his 10th goal and 20th assist in the win, reaching double-digit goals and 20-plus assists in the last two seasons.
The Pioneers outshot the Falcons 33-30, and 12-7 in the third period. Bentley was 0-for-2 on the power play as Sacred Heart was 0-for-3. Magnus recorded 29 saves in goal for the Pioneers, Pelino made 29 saves for the Falcons.
Sacred Heart and Bentley play game two of the best-of-three series tomorrow night at John A. Ryan Arena. Puck is set to drop at 7:05pm.
- Freshman Zach Tsekos intercepted the puck outside the Bentley zone, drives to the net but his backhanded shot is denied by Pelino 3:55 into the first.
- McIlmurray was in position for the rebound off Crocock's slap shot but Pelino blocked the wide-open attempt at 15:25 in the first.
- Magnus with the blocker save on the wide-open shot in the slot by Ryner Gorowsky at 16:13.
- Pioneers with 16 seconds of five-on-three power play in the final minute but Bentley was able to clear the puck.
- The Pioneers fire off three shots on goal to start the second period on the power play.
- Magnus with the save as Riggleman stole the puck in the SHU zone at 2:17 into the second.
- Minello with the short side shot on the power play but Pelino was there to glove it at 9:40 in the second.
- Danforth led the charge on a three-on-two opportunity with a minute and a half left in second period but Pelino made the stop.
- Magnus recorded 14 saves in the second period.
- Playing in 54 career games for the Pioneers, Crocock netted his first career goal at 2:13.
- Bavaro recorded his sixth tally of the season at 10:15.
- McIlmurray went top shelf to beat Pelino but his shot hit off the pipe at 12:25 in the third period.
- Magnus with the save on the point-blank shot by Drew Callin with 17:05 to go in the third.
- Danforth recorded his 10th goal of the season at 17:23. He now has back-to-back seasons with double-digit goals.
- Hladin with his third goal in the last two games on the empty net tally at 19:16. Danforth recorded his 20th assist on the play.