WATERTOWN, Mass.— The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team used a three-goal second period to pull away with a 4-1 victory over Bentley on Tuesday night. The Pioneers (5-12-4, 3-8-4 AHA) picked up the first win of the 2018 calendar year in the first of two midweek matchups against the Falcons (7-9-4, 4-7-3 AHA).
SHU's offense was paced by sophomore Austin McIlmurray, who registered his first career three-point game with two goals and one assist. Freshmen duo Jordan Kaplan and Matt Tugnutt also found the back of the net for SHU. Senior Kory Kennedy registered a two-assist night, joining McIlmurray & Tugnutt with multiple points in the win. Junior Brett Magnus registered 25 saves in goal for the Pioneers.
The two familiar foes took the first period adjusting to the early weeknight contest with the Falcons holding the slight 8-6 shots on goal edge. The Pioneers turned up the tempo in the middle frame as Kaplan buried the opening goal off the face-off win by Kennedy at 11:52.
SHU wasted little time as McIlmurray scored his first goal of the game just 28 seconds after Kaplan's opening tally. Tugnutt pushed the lead to 3-0 with his mark at 17:31, giving the Pioneers 10 goals in the second period in the four games back from winter break.
The Falcons responded on the man advantage early in the third on the goal by Luke Santerno. With the two-goal edge, SHU got the insurance tally it needed courtesy of McIlmurray at 16:29 in the period. Magnus recorded turned away six more shots in the final period to pull away with the win.
How They Scored…
11:52 - 2nd Period: SHU 1, Bentley 0: The Pioneers won the the face-off draw by Kennedy just over the halfway mark in the second. The puck went directly to Kaplan on the inside hashmarks of the right circle, he then timed up a wrist shot past Pelino to break open the scoring.
12:26 - 2nd Period: SHU 2, Bentley 0: SHU continued to push the attack as Tugnutt fed the pass to McIlmurray who bombed a shot past Pelino for his seventh goal of the year.
17:31 - 2nd Period: SHU 3, Bentley 0: McIlmurray caused the turnover by the Falcons in the SHU zone. He then fed the pass to Cotton in the neutral zone, the center sent his pass out to the left wing for Tugnutt. The rookie drove the puck into the Bentley zone and beat Pelino blocker side.
1:05 - 3rd Period: SHU 3, Bentley 1: The Pioneers went to work killing off the overlapping penalty in the previous period. The SHU clear attempt was corralled by Santerno who buried the unassisted goal to get the Falcons on the board.
16:29 - 3rd Period: SHU 4, Bentley 1: Marc Johnstone picked up the puck along the halfboards as the Falcons continued to push its attack. He sent the pass to Kennedy, who tapped it ahead to McIlmurray. The sophomore skated through the Falcons zone & pulled up in the middle of the slot to create separation and buried the wrist shot past Pelino.
Key Stats & Notes…
- The Pioneers have scored 10 goals in the second period since the return from break.
- SHU was held scoreless on the power play for the first time since the return from break, going 0-for-4. Bentley was held to a 1-for-7 outing by the Pioneers penalty kill.
- McIlmurray earned his first three-point game with his two goals & assist.
- Johnstone picked up his 13th assist of the season and became the first Pioneer to reach the 20 point mark this season.
The Pioneers will return home for the final home game this month on Friday, January 12 in the front end of a home-&-home series against Holy Cross. Puck is set to drop at 7:05 p.m. from Webster Bank Arena.