Pioneers Downed by AIC in Series Opener

Pioneers Downed by AIC in Series Opener

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.— The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team fell to AIC, 6-2 in its first Atlantic Hockey road contest of the year on Friday night. The Yellow Jackets (3-6-2, 2-3-2 AHA) put up six goals in the final two periods after the Pioneers (3-7-0, 1-4-0 AHA) held the 1-0 lead after the first period.

Freshman Marc Johnstone scored the first goal of the game for SHU & his third of the season. The rookie has registered points in five straight contests. Sophomore Vito Bavaro & freshman Alex Bates had the assists on the play. 

Junior Stephen Hladin added the second Pioneers goal in the third. Mel Melconian earned his first career assist with Bates registering his second two assist night. Junior Brett Magnus recorded 22 saves in goal for SHU.

Turning Point…

The Pioneers controlled the first period with a 9-5 shot advantage and got on the board with Johnstone's third goal of the season. The next 40 minutes belonged to the Yellow Jackets as the home team put up six straight goals. AIC opened its scoring on Martin Mellberg's goal at 8:10 in the second. Then took the lead on Andrew DeBrincat's goal at 11:32 in the second.

SHU looked to pick up the offense in the third period but AIC continued to pace the offense outshooting the Pioneers 13-9 in the Period. The Yellow Jackets put the game out of reach scoring four goals in a seven-minute span from 7:36 to 14:31 in the third as SHU was unable to recover. 

How They Scored…

11:23 – 1st Period: SHU 1, AIC 0: Off the power play opportunity, SHU worked the puck back into the Yellow Jackets zone. Clare sent the pass to Bavaro at the left point. The sophomore cued up the slapshot on goal, Johnstone was there to deflect the puck in for his third goal.

8:10 – 2nd Period: SHU 1, AIC 1: AIC caused the turnover on the Pioneers faceoff win. In the two-on-one rush Martin Melberg beat Magnus glove side with the wrist shot to tie the game at 1-1.
11:32 – 2nd Period: AIC 2, SHU 1: The Yellow Jackets kept the offensive pressure in the second period, Hugo Reinhardt dished the puck to Andrew DeBrincat in the slot and fired the wrist shot to give AIC the lead.

7:36 – 3rd Period: AIC 3, SHU 1: AIC drew another penalty in the third, working the puck on the man advantage. Hugo Reinhardt sent the puck up to the left point to Andrew DeBrincat. His pass went to Nicolas Luka in the middle of the point and sent a booming shot past Magnus glove side for the 3-1 lead. 

8:12 – 3rd Period: AIC 4, SHU 1: The Yellow Jackets scored just 36 later as they generated a three-on-one rush after SHU sent the puck into their zone. Jared Pike found Bryant Christian in the slot to beat Magnus.

12:05 – 3rd Period: AIC 5, SHU 1: The Pioneers turned over the puck at their own blue line. It proved costly as Debrincat picked up the turnover for AIC and sent the backhand pass towards the middle of the slot. Pike was there to pick up the puck & went forehand-backhand for the score.

14:31 – 3rd Period: AIC 6, SHU 1: AIC continued to work the puck in the SHU zone. Janis Jaks dished the puck to Darius Davidson who fired one on Magnus from the left side. Mellberg made the move towards the net and fired home the rebound.

18:03 – 3rd Period: AIC 6, SHU 2: The Pioneers dumped the puck into the Yellow Jackets zone with the game winding down. Melconian picked up the puck along the back wall and dished it to Hladin. The junior made the swift move to outstretch Stefano Durante for the goal.


Key Stats & Notes…

  • The Pioneers six game unbeaten streak against AIC was snapped. The Yellow Jackets last beat SHU on February 15, 2014.
  • Johnstone picked up his third goal in five games and has registered a point in the last five games.
  • Bates recorded two assists for the second time this season, the first coming in SHU's 6-4 win over Notre Dame on October 19th.

Up Next…

The Pioneers wrap up the season series against AIC with an early afternoon matinee tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.