MILFORD, Conn. – Freshman Mitch Nylen (Lawrenceville, Ga.) scored in the final second of regulation Friday night to give the Sacred Heart men's hockey team a 4-3 win over the Niagara Purple Eagles at Milford Ice Pavilion. The win is the Pioneers' first against Niagara in 11 meetings.
Sacred Heart (7-18-0, 6-12-0 AHA) went on the power play with 1:34 to play in the third period when Niagara's (7-15-3, 7-8-3 AHA) Stephen Pietrobon went to the penalty box for boarding with the game tied 3-3. The Pioneers had six shots on the man advantage before the penultimate faceoff of the game. With three seconds left, Brian Sheehan (St. Louis, Mo.) won the draw to Mitch Nylen, who fired a shot from the high slot past the glove of Jackson Teichroeb and into the back of the net with 0.9 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Pioneers scored first in Friday night's game. Jordan Minello (Sweaburg, Ont.) hammered home a Justin Danforth (Oshawa, Ont.) pass 5:28 into the game to give Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead. Thirty seconds later, Sheehan fired a shot from behind the goalline that hit a Niagara skate and past Purple Eagles goalie Adrian Ignagni, who started the game, to make the score 2-0. Freshmen Daniel Lisi (King City, Ont.) and Nick Lotito (Staten Island, N.Y.) assisted on Sheehan's tally. Niagara got on the scoreboard late in the first period. Tyler Akeson put in the rebound of a Sam Alfieri shot to put the score at 2-1 with 2:41 left in the first period.
The Purple Eagles tied the game 2-2 5:51 into the second period. Vince Muto scored from the blue line on the power play, with assists from Matt Chiarantano and TJ Sarcona. Danforth put the Pioneers back in front 3-2 with his first goal in 15 games, charging the net with 13:06 remaining in the second to knock in the rebound of a Minello shot from the right wing. Once again, Niagara would come back to tie the game. Patrick Divjak found Ryan Rashid behind the Pioneers' defense and Rashid scored on the breakaway with the backhand to put the game at 3-3 with 6:13 left in the period.
Sacred Heart outshot Niagara 40-37 for the game and 15-10 in the third period. Junior Andrew Bodnarchuk (Sasktatoon, Sask.) made 34 saves for his fourth win of the season. Teichroeb had 32 stops in relief of Ignagni, who allowed the first two Sacred Heart goals. Sheehan, Danforth, and Minello each had a goal and an assist for the Pioneers. Sacred Heart was 1-for-5 on the power play, scoring on its final man advantage of the night.
The Pioneers and Purple Eagles wrap up their weekend series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at the Milford Ice Pavilion.