HARTFORD, Conn. – The Sacred Heart men's hockey team was within a goal of #8 Quinnipiac after the first period Monday night at the XL Center, but fell victim to a barrage of Bobcats shots in the final two periods to lose 5-0 in the championship game of the UConn Hockey Classic.
Redshirt-Sophomore goalie Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) made a career-high 49 saves in the game, earning Tournament MVP honors. Vazzano made 78 saves on 83 shots in the two games of the tournament. Freshman defenseman David Iacono (Newmarket, Ont.) was named to the All-Tournament team as well.
Both Sacred Heart (5-13-0) and Quinnipiac (14-3-4) traded scoring chances early in the game, but neither team got on the scoreboard. The Bobcats went on the power play with 12:10 to play and scored seven seconds into the man advantage. Bryce Van Brabant crashed the net and knocked in a Zach Tolkinen shot to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead.
Sacred Heart had to go on the penalty kill again with 11:16 to play in the period when Will Rayner (Needham, Mass.) was called for tripping. Alex Vazzano made six saves on that power play as the Pioneers were able to keep the score 1-0. Sacred heart had a couple choice scoring chances late in the period, notably one by Brian Sheehan (St. Louis, Mo.) with 40 seconds left on a breakout that was saved by Michael Garteig. Sheehan's shot led to a Sacred Heart power play as Ben Lake (Calgary, Alb.) was interfered with by Quinnipiac's Matthew Peca.
The Pioneers did not put a shot on goal in the power play, which extended into the second period. Quinnipiac went ahead 2-0 2:38 into the second period as Tim Clifton hammered home a Dan Federico shot. The Bobcats dominated the second period, outshooting Sacred Heart 25-0. Despite the lopsided advantage in shots, Quinnipiac only scored one more goal in the second period. Connor Jones tallied a power play goal with 9:50 to play in the second to make the score 3-0. The Pioneers had three shots in the third period, but the Bobcats added two more power play goals to make the final score 5-0.
Quinnipiac outshot Sacred Heart 54-12 for the game and was 4-for-9 on the power play. The Pioneers were 0-for-4 on the power play. Garteig recorded his fourth shutout of the season for the Bobcats.
Sacred Heart returns to Milford Ice Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 4 to open a two-game series against Robert Morris. The Pioneers and Colonials drop the puck at 7:05 p.m.