SHU Wins Overtime Thriller on Game Winner with 9.9 Seconds Left

BRIDGEPORT, Conn.  (December 3, 2010) – Sacred Heart junior Caitlin Gottwald (Reading, MA) banged home a loose puck in front of the net with 9.9 seconds left in overtime to send the Pioneers home with a 2-1 win over St. Michael's Friday night at the Wonderland of Ice.  SHU goalie Alexius Schutt (Elk River, MN) made 26 saves in goal to earn the win as the Pioneers improve to 2-10-0 while the Purple Knights fall to 1-6-1. 

The Pioneers took advantage of their first power play opportunity of the night, scoring the game's opening goal at 9:20.  Junior Tara Kent (Glenview, IL) redirected a shot by fellow junior Nicole Palazzo (Rocky Hill, CT) at the right post past Purple Knight goalie Erin Stevens.  The Pioneers were forced to kill off four penalties in the first period including a five on three power play opportunity for St. Michael's. 

SHU looked headed to the locker room up 1-0 but a turnover at mid ice was picked up by Kiera Nellian who skated in with Madelena Santore on a two-on-one with just seconds left.  Nellian centered a perfect pass and Santore beat Schutt for the tying goal with just two seconds left before the end of the period.

The two teams skated to a scoreless second period with the Pioneers turning in the best scoring opportunity in the closing seconds.  Senior Lauren Fontaine (Windsor, Ontario) set up junior Jamie Mey (Middletown, RI) right on the door step at the left post but Stevens was able to recover in time to turn away her opportunity and preserve the 1-1 tie into the third.

SHU let loose on Stevens in the third period, firing 15 shots but couldn't crack the net minder.  Fontaine came up empty on a point blank shot in front with seven minutes left and had a chance to win it in regulation on an odd man rush with 11 seconds to play.  Fontaine beat her defender and had Stevens beat but her shot sailed wide and the two teams headed for overtime. 

The Pioneers kept up the offensive pressure in the extra session firing nine shots on goal to St. Michael's one.  Junior Erin Burke (Franklin, MA) had a chance to end it on a two-on-one but was denied by Stevens on the doorstep.  It looked like SHU would have to settle for the tie but had one last chance setting up for a face off in the closing seconds.  SHU's Taryn Lapierre won the draw and the puck got thrown on net.  After a scrum in front, Gottwald found the loose puck on the far post and banged it home for the win.

St. Michael's got 39 saves from Stevens in the loss. 

The Pioneers are right back in action tomorrow afternoon once again taking on the St. Michael's Purple Knights.  The puck drops at 2 pm at the Wonderland of Ice.