(Watertown, MA) - Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MA) led the Sacred Heart Men's Hockey with a hat trick and an assist in a 4-2 win over Bentley Saturday night in Game Two of the Opening Round of the Atlantic Hockey Association Playoffs, extending the Pioneers' season to a decisive Game Three Sunday night at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena.
Gingera answered the first of Joe Campanelli's two goal at 1:35 of the first with the first of his three at 4:49, skating through the slot for a wrist shot on a play started by Chad Filteau (Regina, SK) and Bryan Felice (Middletown, NJ). He scored again at 15:14 of the first to give SHU a 2-1 lead, with Will Rayner (Newton, MA )and Jared Eng (West Vancouver, BC) picking up the helpers.
Campanelli scored again at 1:20 of the second to tie the game, assisted by Zach Ledford and Justin Breton. Then, almost a year to the day Gingera recorded a hat trick in the same building against the same Falcons team in last season's First Round playoff game, the senior winger pulled off the feat again at 4:22, with Drew George (Regina, SK) and Filteau assisting his team-leading 17th of the season.
In the third period, the Pioneers defended the neutral zone consistantly, keeping the Falcons from generating many rushes. However, about halfway through the period, AHA leading scorer Brett Gensler busted down the right wing and cut to the middle for a one-on-one opportunity with SHU goalie Andrew Bodnarchuk (Saskatoon, SK). Gensler made a move to his backhand and appeared ready to bury the potential game-tying goal into an open net, but Bodnarchuk flashed his right pad out to stuff him with a split save and keep the Pioneers on top. George gave SHU insurance with a little less than four minutes remaining, taking pass from Gingera and streaking down the left wing for a glove-side wrist shot at 16:11 for his 14th of the season. The freshman's two-point night extended his point streak to 12 games.
Sacred Heart will look to keep its season going against Bentley Sunday at 7:05 pm. With a victory, the Pioneers would advance to the AHA Quarterfinals against Air Force.