Pioneers Rally & Hold On For 3-2 win over Mercyhurst

Pioneers Rally & Hold On For 3-2 win over Mercyhurst

Avon, Conn.— The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team picked up a 3-2 victory over Mercyhurst in the third annual Jason Pagni Memorial Game held at Avon Old Farms on Saturday night. The Pioneers (6-10-2, 4-8 AHC) recorded three straight goals in the second and third period to fend of the Lakers (6-9, 6-6 AHC).

Sacred Heart had three mulit-point performances from sophomore Liam Clare and senior Justin Danforth, who both recorded two assists and senior Jordan Minello, who netted one goal and one assist. Senior captain Mitch Nylen recorded the shorthanded game winning goal for the Pioneers. Nylen has recorded a point in six straight contests. 

Mercyhurst took the 1-0 lead at 2:14 in the first period on a tip in by Kyle Dutra on the slap shot by Lester Lancaster. Freshman Zach Tsekos fired one past Colin DeAugstine to the top right corner of the net to put the Pioneers on the board at 10:08 in the second period. Clare and Minello had the assists on the power play goal. Minello's goal broke the tie at 7:36 in the third period, as Danforth found him wide open in the slot for the easy score. Sacred Heart's penalty kill faced a four on-three power play opportunity for Mercyhurst. At the blue line, Clare intercepted the Lakers pass and fed it to Danforth, who found Nylen wide open on the two-on-one breakaway at 9:31 in the third to take the 3-1 lead. Taylor Best recorded the extra attacker goal for Mercyhurst at 16:43 make it a one goal game. SHU would hold on to win, 3-2. 

The Lakers outshot SHU 29-22 in the game. Sacred Heart was 1-for-8 on the power play, while Mercyhurst was 0-for-6. Nathan Perry recorded 27 saves in goal for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers will have a nice break before continuing its homestand on December 30-31 against Air Force. The opening faceoff for both games will be at 3:00pm at Webster Bank Arena.

First Period

- Ruslan Rakhmatov, Vito Bavaro and Evan Jasper all had shots hit off the pipe as the Pioneers tried to answer the early goal by Mercyhurst. 

- Both teams combined for 0-for-5 on the power play in the first period.

- Perry knocked down four big shots to end the period to hold the Lakers on the man advantage.   

Second Period

- Tsekos recorded his third goal of the season and his second power play tally at 10:08 in the second.

- Sacred Heart and Mercyhurst combined for just nine shots in the second period.

Third Period

- Perry made 12 big stops including a big diving stop on shot by Wes Barker at 15:38 in the third.

- Nylen recorded the third shorthanded goal of the season for SHU at 9:31. With their assists on the game winning goal, Danforth and Clare now both have three mult-assist games on the season. 

- Erlich Doerksen had two big blocked shots in the final minute as Meryhurst looked for another extra attacker goal. 

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