MILFORD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart University men's ice hockey team skated in its final game at the Milford Ice Pavilion for the season, Friday night, as the Pioneers fell to the visiting University of Connecticut, 4-2. Senior Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, Kan.) registered both scores for SHU.
The two teams were dead even throughout much of the game with the Pioneers holding a 32-28 edge in shots on goal when the final buzzer sounded. Trailing 3-2 with 1:42 remaining in the third, SHU sophomore goaltender Steven Legatto (Kelowna, B.C.) was pulled for an extra attacker. At the 18:55 mark freshman Brant Harris lit the lamp on the empty net to seal the two-goal victory.
The Pioneers got on the board first when Mladenoff snuck in a shot from the left wing off a feed from fellow senior Patrick Knowlton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 3:49 into the first period. UConn would come back to tie it up near the end of the period as junior Corey Jendras knocked in his third score of the year.
In the second period, Husky senior Justin Hernandez intercepted a clear attempt by Legatto along the left boards and fired a shot on goal as Legatto retreated for it, but the shot beat him to the back of the net. Mladenoff answered back only a minute and 10 seconds later as he poked in his eight goal of the season. Connecticut would get one more before the close of the period as freshman Cole Schneider fired in what would hold up as the game-winner.
UConn sophomore goaltender Garrett Bartus, who leads the league in saves, provided 30 stops to give his team the win. Bartus came up huge on several occasions where Pioneer attackers appeared to have favorable opportunities to score, including a late swipe at a shot by Knowlton in the first period and a wrap-around stuff shot by freshman Tye Lewis (Vancouver, Wash.) in the third. For the Pioneers, Legatto returned to the lineup to make 24 saves, while allowing three goals.
Both teams were 0-2 on the power play.
Sacred Heart and Connecticut square off again this Sunday at 1:00 pm as they partake in the much anticipated Whalers Hockey Fest at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.