January 15, 2010

Red Hot Pioneers Surge Past Mercyhurst 6-3

Jan. 15, 2010

Box Score

Milford, CT - In a game that took numerous twists and turns the Pioneer men's ice hockey team defeated first-place Mercyhurst 6-3 Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.  Defenseman Paul Ferraro (Pleasantville, NY) led SHU scoring two power play goals in a 15 second span in the second period.  Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) made the play of the game to break a 3-3 tie in the third period as he created a turnover and scored an unassisted goal that would prove to be the game winner.

Mercyhurst (11-12-2, 11-6-2 AHA) struck first with their first shot on goal as Paul Chaisson lit the lamp on a two-on-one opportunity 47 seconds into the contest.  The Pioneers came within inches of evening the score with 7:30 to play in the frame but Tommy Castonguay's (Rimouski, QC) hit the post and just missed deflected into the net.  Sacred Heart would pull even two minutes later as Patrick Knowlton (Colorado Springs, CO) lit the lamp, banging in a rebound, for his sixth goal of the season after a Castonguay shot on net.

The Lakers made a crucial mistake at the end of first period as Grant Blakey was called for hitting from behind and a game misconduct, which resulted in a 5:00 minute major power play for SHU to start the second period.  Mercyhurst would dig themselves a deeper hole as Dan Bremner was called for a trip just :31 seconds into the second stanza to create an extended five-on-three opportunity for the Pioneers.

Sacred Heart (8-9-3, 6-6-2 AHA) would need just nine seconds of that five-on-three as a Ferraro slap shot found the back of the net to give SHU a 2-1 lead.  The graduate student defenseman found the net again 15 seconds later to push the Sacred Heart advantage to 3-1.  However, the Pioneers made a mental mistake and Mercyhurst capitalized with a short handed goal one minute later off the stick of Mike Gurtler.  The Lakers would even the game at the 8:51 mark as Brandon Coccimiglio received a pass from behind the SHU net from Scott Pitt.  Coccimiglio picked out the top left corne of the net and wristed the puck into the open spot to make it a 3-3 affair.

The Pioneers took two penalties with six minutes remaining in the second period that could have set up a Mercyhurst two-man advantage.  Fortunately for Sacred Heart, Lakers forward Gurtler was also called for an embellishment pentalty resulting in just a five-on-four power play for Mercyhurst.

Mladenoff took control of the game for Sacred Heart 1:13 into the final period.  The junior forward created a turnover on the forecheck before depositing the puck past Lakers goaltender Ryan Zapolski.  The Pioneers would make it a two goal game with five minutes remaining in regulation as Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) found himself unmarked in the slot and wristed in his seventh goal of the season.  Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) would add the empty net goal, his team leading 14th of the year, with 1:43 to play.

Sacred Heart outshot Mercyhurst 40-29 and went 3-for-5 on the power play.  The line of Knowlton, Johnson, and Jarman continued its scoring ways as each member of the trio posted a goal and two assists in the victory.  The Pioneers are unbeaten in their last six games with a 5-0-1 record.

The Pioneers will try and continue its hot streak tomorrow night as they take on Mercyhurst at 7:05 pm at the Milford Ice Pavilion for the series finale.