Milford, Conn. – Three first period goals were all the Sacred Heart University men's ice hockey team needed to hold on for a 3-2 Atlantic Hockey win over Mercyhurst at the Milford Ice Pavilion Saturday evening. The win snapped an eight game winless streak for the Pioneers who improved to 2-10-4 overall and 2-6-4 in league play, while the Lakers dropped to 5-7-1 and 5-5-0.
Sacred Heart grabbed a 1-0 lead 3:48 into the game when sophomore forward Eric Delong (Oakville, Man.) stole the puck at the blue line and skated into the offensive zone on the right wing and slipped a shot past the Mercyhurst goalie. The Lakers tied the game a little more than a minute later when they put an extra attacker on the ice. Sophomore defenseman Charlie Carkin tallied the scored on a delayed penalty.
Midway through the period senior David Berube (Quebec, Que.) played the puck into the corner for sophomore Reid MacLeod (Teulon, Man.) who then backhanded the puck into the slot for an open Evan Mladenoff. Mladenoff, a senior forward from Leawood, Kan., lit the lamp for his fourth goal of the year to put the Pioneers back on top. Sophomore forward Kyle Verbeek (Bloomfield, Mich.) sniped his first goal of the year, off a feed from classmate Tommy Castonguay (Rimouski, Que.), with a slap shot from the edge of the left face-off circle.
Mercyhurst cut the deficit to one with a goal from senior Scott Pitt coming 8:08 into the second period. Sophomore Steven Legatto (Kelowna, B.C.) prevented the Lakers from tying the game when he made a sprawling glove save across the crease in the second frame.
Legatto returned to the Pioneers lineup and made 39 saves to preserve the victory. In net for Mercyhurst, senior Ryan Zapolski made 38 saves. The two teams were dead even in shots on goal with 41 apiece.
Sacred Heart continues to struggle on the power play, going 0-3, but stepped up on the penalty kill as the Lakers were unsuccessful in all five tries on the man advantage. It is the first game since beating AIC that SHU has kept their opponent off the board, while on the power play.
The Pioneers return to action next Friday and Sunday when they host Connecticut and Clarkson at the Milford Ice Pavilion.