Springfield, Mass.— Senior forward Justin Danforth reached the 100 career points milestone in the second period as the Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team earned a convincing 7-3 win over AIC on Tuesday night at the Mass Mutual Center. The Pioneers (4-7-2, 3-5-0 AHC) recorded their highest goal total this season since putting up six goals in their win over the Yellow Jackets (2-5-5, 2-4-4 AHC) earlier this season.
Sacred Heart's top line of senior captain Evan Jasper, Danforth and senior Jordan Minello combined for nine points on the game. Danforth recorded three assists, while Jasper and Minello had a pair of goals and one assist each. Freshman Dominik Florián started things off for AIC with a five on three power play goal halfway through the first period. Minello responded early in the second as he stole the puck from a AIC defender and fired one past goaltender Zackarias Skog for the shorthanded goal. The Yellow Jackets answered back on the ensuing faceoff as Florián scored to finish off the power play opportunity and 2-1 lead. Jasper then netted his first goal of the night on a rebound shot from Danforth for the power play score, 4:55 into the second period. Blake Christensen responded with a breakaway goal of his own to take the 3-2 lead for AIC. It was Danforth's touch off the faceoff to Minello for the last goal of the second period to tie it at 3-3. The assist clinched the 100-point plateau for Danforth, and the 66th assist of his career.
The Pioneers offense continued their rhythm into the third period as sophomore Stephen Hladin recorded his second goal in three games on the assist from Kory Kennedy at 14:59 remaining in the third to give SHU the 4-3 lead. Nearly two minutes later it was Jasper with his second goal of the game on the assists from Liam Clare and Danforth. Sacred Heart closed it out with a pair of firsts, as senior Erlich Doerksen recorded his first goal of the season and freshman Ruslan Rakhmatov netted his first career goal to bring the final to 7-3.
Junior goaltender Nathan Perry earned his first collegiate win with 12 saves in goal for the Pioneers. Sacred Heart outshot AIC 33 to 15 in the game, including 13-2 in the third period. AIC held the slight edge on the power play, going 2-for-6 while the Pioneers went 2-for-7.
The Pioneers will travel up to Hartford on Saturday November 26 to face instate rival UConn at 2:00pm.
- Perry picked up three quick saves early in the first period.
- Florián picked up the first goal for Yellow jackets on the two-man advantage to make the game 1-0.
- Danforth's backhanded shot got knocked away by Skog on the breakaway attempt for SHU halfway through the period.
- Rakhmatov tried to slap one past the AIC defense on the SHU power play to end the first but it got knocked down by the Yellow Jackets defense.
- Minello with the steal and the breakaway shorthanded goal to tie the game up at 1-1 early in the second period.
- On the next faceoff, it was Florián once again with another power play goal on the feed from Polin.
- Jasper picked up his first goal of the game on the rebound off a shot by Danforth to tie it at 2-2.
- Christensen has the last AIC goal on the lead pass from Florián halfway through the second period.
- Minello with the final goal of the period off the faceoff touch from Jasper and Danforth with 17 seconds remaining.
- Hladin with the goal on the dish from Jordan Minello behind the net with 14 minutes to go in the third period.
- Jasper with his second goal of the game on the assist from Danforth and Clare just two minutes later.
- Doerksen with his first goal of the season on the assist from a pair of freshmen, McIlmurray and Tsekos.
- Rakhmatov closed it out with a hard slapshot fromthe blue line on the five on three power play with 3:35 left in regulation.