(Milford, CT) - Steven Legatto (Kelowna, B.C.) made 32 saves and Even Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) scored his first goal of the season, but Preston Shupe led the Canisius Golden Griffins with a three-point night, spoiling the Sacred Heart men's hockey home opener 4-1 Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Shupe scored twice in the third period, including the game-winning goal on the power play at the 5:45 mark of the final session to give Canisius a 2-1 lead. The goal came on the heels of a five-minute power play for the Pioneers, who were unable to score the go-ahead goal after a second period boarding major to Pat Kenney carried over to the third. With Sacred Heart on the penalty-kill for too many men on the ice, Shupe's goal-mouth pass deflected in off a Pioneer defender.
Kyle Gibbons scored an insurance goal, sneaking past the Sacred Heart defense in the neutral zone for a feed from Eric Rex that sent him on a breakaway. Shupe added an empty-net goal with 49 seconds left to round out the scoring.
Down 1-0 after one period, Mladenoff tied the game just 36 seconds into the second for Sacred Heart by going hard to the net and knocking in a rebound off a shot by Eric DeLong (Oakville, Man.). Chris Brown (Sherrills Ford, N.C.) earned the other assist. Steven Shafer put the Griffs on the board first with a wrist shot from the hash marks that snuck inside the left post off a quick left-wing pass from Torrey Lindsay, with Shupe setting up the rush, at the 6:11 mark.
Legatto made a number of tough saves, including 12 in both the second and third periods. However, Canisius goalie Dan Morrison denied everything after Mladenoff's goal , stopping 18 second period shots and a total of 37 for the game.
The Pioneers look for their first win of the season when they host the Griffs Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.