ROCHESTER, N.Y.— The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team netted five unanswered goals in the second and third period to beat RIT, 5-1 at the Gene Polisseni Center on Saturday night. The Pioneers (7-13-3, 5-11 AHA) split the season series with the Tigers (9-11-1, 9-6 AHA), ending their three-game losing steak in the process.
Senior defenseman Erlich Doerksen led the Pioneers with two goals on the night. The first multi-goal game of his career. Seniors Coltyn Hansen and Justin Danforth along with sophomore Stephen Hladin picked up the other Sacred Heart goals. Senior captain Mitch Nylen picked up his second multi-assist game of the season.
It was a back and forth battle for much of the first period, but RIT would get the first strike on its home ice. Gabe Valenzuela found Matt Abt crashing toward the net and Abt put the puck past goaltender Brett Magnus for the 1-0 lead at 17:33. Doerksen started the SHU scoring spree in the second, as he fired in a wrist shot from the top of the slot at 9:15 in the second to tie it at 1-1. Just six seconds later, Hansen intercepted Chase Norrish's pass and put the open breakaway in the top shelf past Mike Rotolo for the 2-1 lead. Hansen's second goal of the season proved to be the game winner for Sacred Heart.
The Pioneers continued to push the attack in the third as Hladin's picked up the power play goal at 8:46 with the tip in on a slap shot by Nylen. Just 38 seconds later, Danforth extended the Pioneers lead to 4-1 on the assists from Nylen and senior Jordan Minello. Doerksen ripped a shot from the point past Rotolo for his second goal of the night at 11:59 to bring the game to 5-1. RIT continued to fight but were unable to find any momentum.
Sacred Heart outshot RIT 35 to 33 in the game. The Pioneers went 1-for-4 on the man advantage, while holding the Tigers to 0-for-4 on the power play. Magnus made 32 big saves in goal for the Pioneers, picking up his fifth win of the season. Rotolo recorded 27 stops for RIT.
The Pioneers return home for a weekend series with Holy Cross at Webster Bank Arena beginning Friday January, 13 at 7:00pm.
- Darren Brady laid out to block Minello's shot on the three on two rush for the Pioneers at 5:46 in the first.
- Magnus with the big pad save on shot by Valenzuela at 15:20.
- Vito Bavaro led the Pioneers with three shots on goal in the period.
- SHU had 12 shots on goal in the opening stanza.
- Evan Jasper all alone in the slot on a lead pass from Tsekos but Rotolo made a glove save at 8:26.
- Doerksen tied it up at 1-1 with his wrist shot from the top of the slot at 9:15 in the second.
- Six seconds later, Hansen picked off the RIT pass and put it up on the top shelf to give SHU the 2-1 lead.
- Nylen broke up big a two on one rush by Danny Smith and Chris Cameron in the final minute with his poke check.
- SHU outshot the Tigers for the first period all weekend. (10-8)
- Magnus with the stop on a shot by Chris McKay on the RIT rush at 2:16.
- Hansen's shot goes off the pipe on the SHU shorthanded attack at 5:20.
- Hladin tipped in the slapshot by Nylen on the power play to extend lead to 3-1.
- Danforth responded 38 seconds later on the dish from Nylen and Minello for his fourth goal of the season.
- Doerksen picked up his second tally of the game at 11:59 for his first career multi-goal game.