MILFORD, Conn – The Sacred Heart men's hockey team held a 3-2 lead on UCONN with less than a minute left in regulation Friday night, but could not close the deal, falling to the Huskies, 4-3, in overtime at the Milford Ice Pavilion. The Pioneers fall to 10-16 in the Atlantic Hockey Association and currently sit in tenth place with one game to go in the regular season.
Sophomore goalie Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, CT) made 31 saves in the loss.
UCONN senior Billy Latta scored both the equalizer, and the game-ender with 42 seconds left in overtime to send the Huskies home with the victory.
The Pioneers took a lead three separate times on the Huskies, the first coming in the second period on a Drew George (Regina, Sask.) goal at 4:41 of the second period. Ben Lake (Calgary, Alberta) recorded the assist on George's team-leading 11th goal of the season.
UCONN equaled the score less than three minutes later with Shawn Pauly finding the back of the net at 7:29 of the second. Trevor Gerling notched the assist on the play.
After a tripping call put Sacred Heart on the power play, the Pioneers capitalized with an extra man goal at 13:51 of the second. Jacob Brightbill (Anneville, PA) lit the lamp, off assists by George and freshman Jeff Carroll (Kingston, Ontario).
As they did all game long, UCONN responded 17 seconds later, with Patrick Kirtland putting one past Vazzano, off a nice find from Brent Norris.
The Pioneers put in what for a while looked like the game-winner in the third period. After a face-off win by senior Neil Fachini (East Hampton, CT), freshman Coltyn Hansen (South Delta, B.C) rifled a shot top shelf to put the Pioneers up 3-2 at 6:45 of the third.
UCONN kept battling and after pulling goalie Robby Nichols with a little over a minute left in regulation, Latta was able to put one past Vazzano to send the game into overtime.
After a boarding penalty put the Pioneers on the penalty kill on the sixth time, Latta finished the comeback off with the game-winner. Sacred Heart had killed off all five of UCONN's previous power plays.
Sacred Heart and UCONN will be right back at it tomorrow afternoon for the Pioneers' Senior Day, scheduled for 5:05 pm at the Milford Ice Pavilion.