BOSTON, Mass.— The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team dropped the 2017-18 season opener 6-3 to No. 20/13 Northeastern University on Friday night. Sophomores Vito Bavaro & Austin McIlmurray and junior Stephen Hladin picked up goals for the Pioneers (0-1) to open the year.
The Huskies (1-0) started the scoring affair at 10:04 in the first period as Grant Jozefek deflected the shot from the point by Ryan Shea past junior goaltender Brett Magnus. Northeastern's second tally came from Eric Williams as he went top shelf over Magnus at 17:40. Dylan Sikura hit the chargins Williams across ice in stride for the top shelf goal and 2-0 lead.
A wild second period that saw five goals scored with four in favor of the Huskies. Lincoln Griffin opened the period with the breakaway goal off a SHU miscommunication. Griffin drove in the Zach Solow pass and dekeed past Magnus to slide the puck into the back of the net at 6:18. Northeastern scored its fourth unanswered goal at 10:47 in the second as Matt Filipe was at the doorstep off the Adam Gaudette shot.
SHU answered just 13 seconds later as sophomore Jason Cotton clear won the faceoff draw. Sophomore Max Luukko fired one in from the point on the net with his classmate, Bavaro there to put in the puck to get the Pioneers first goal of the season. Northeastern ended the period with Jozefek & Filipe's second goals of the night to take a 6-1 lead into the second intermission.
SHU picked up the opening goal of the third period at 3:32 as McIlmurray blasted a one-timer from the right point off on the assists from Hladin and sophomore Ruslan Rakhmatov. The Pioneers carried a little momentum drawing another penalty 32 seconds later. The second power play goal of the period came off Hladin's stick as he put home the pass from freshman Marc Johnstone to bring the score to 6-3 at 4:17 into the third. Solow capped the night with a booming slap shot just inside the blue line past senior goaltender Nathan Perry at 15:56 for the eventual 7-3 final.
Northeastern outshot Sacred Heart 35-22 in the opening contest. The Pioneers were able to go 2-for-5 on the man advantage with two third period power play scores, while Northeastern went 1-for-4. Magnus recorded 17 saves in 40 minutes while Perry registered 11 saves in the third. Ruck picked up 19 saves in goal for the Huskies.
The Pioneers wrap up the weekend series with Huskies tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.
- Seven freshmen made their collegiate on opening night for the Pioneers (Mel Melconian, Alex Bates, Jordan Kaplan, Michael Gilroy, Josh Allan, Marc Johnstone & Matt Tugnutt)
- Hladin registered his fourth career multi-point game, first since March 3, 2017 at Bentley.
- Luukko, Johnstone & Kaplan pick up first career points on assists.
- Gilroy fired the Pioneers first shot on goal of the season.
- Pioneers were unable to strike on three power play chances in the opening period.
- Kaplan had Tsekos at the door step but Ruck was there for the pad save just 1:12 into the period.
- Captain Mike Crocock fired one from the slot but Ruck made a spectacular stop to deny the junior.
- McIlmurray fired two shots in the Pioneers first power play before lighting the lamp with his first of the season at 3:32.
- Pioneers unable to answer on the third power play, denied a single shot on goal.