ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Junior forward Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, Man.) led the Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team's offense with a pair of goals at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Saturday night. However, it wasn't enough as the Tigers mounted a comeback to pull even for a 3-3 tie in the Atlantic Hockey contest at Ritter Arena.
The Pioneers, who are now 1-9-4 overall and 1-5-4 in the AHA, held a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the final frame before RIT stormed back. Sophomore Chris Saracino scored first, on a power-play, to cut the lead to one with 1:48 left in regulation.
The game tying goal came off a controversial face-off which was won by the Tigers. Preceding the face-off, RIT sent the puck up ice, but it was whistled dead as the original call was icing. Following a conference by the officials the call was overturned. The Tigers won the ensuing face-off and junior Taylor McReynolds punched the puck in to knot the game at three.
Gingera struck first only 18 seconds into the game as he crashed toward the net and slipped one by the goalie for his second score of the year. Sophomore Eric Delong (Oakville, Man.) sent the pass into the slot on Gingera's goal, while senior Patrick Knowlton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) also picked up an assist on the play.
Later in the first, SHU was successful in killing off a two-man RIT advantage that lasted 1:26 and stayed sharp for the remaining 34 seconds of PK.
Gingera added his second of the night at the 3:27 mark of the second period as he went in on a fastbreak, from Knowlton, to increase the Pioneer lead to 2-0. The Tigers cut the lead in half when junior Cameron Burt sent a pass goal-mouth for sophomore Adam Hartley who buried the shot to get RIT on the board.
The goal was a power play score for the Tigers that came after a series of penalties for the two teams. Sacred Heart began the sequence on the power play, but when all was said and done wound up on the wrong end of a five on three. The goal was officially on the power play, as SHU dispensed the two-man RIT advantage, but senior David Berube was still making his way out of the penalty box as Hartley scored.
Sophomore Reid MacLeod (Teulon, Man.) pushed the Pioneer lead to 3-1 as he recorded the first shorthanded score of the season for Sacred Heart. The goal was setup by a clear attempt by junior Ryan Minicai (Monroe, Conn.) that was received by Berube who led the rush and fed a centering cross for MacLeod.
Junior goaltender Oliver St. Onge (Wickham, Que.) made his second start of the season between the pipes for the Pioneers. He totaled 41 saves for the game and made 15 in the first period alone, including four while playing down two players. His counterpart, senior Jan Ropponen made 33 saves, including several sprawling blocks to keep his team in the game and escape with a tie.
The Pioneers are back in action when they host Mercyhurst at the Milford Ice Pavilion next Friday and Saturday evenings.