Jan. 3, 2009
Milford, CT - Sophomore Bryan Haczyk scored the game winning goal with 2:34 left in regulation and senior Vince Rocco added a goal and an assist to lead Niagara to a 4-2 win over Sacred Heart in men's ice hockey action Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. The contest was the final non-league game of the year for Sacred Heart.
In a back-and-forth game, Rocco put Niagara on the board first, scoring his fifth goal of the year with 6:54 left in the first period. The senior took a pass from Ted Cook, circled behind the net and stuffed the puck inside the post, past SHU net-minder Olivier St. Onge (Wickham, QC) for the score.
Freshman Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MB) tied the game for SHU with 3:01 left in the first period. The rookie took a pass from David Berube (Quebec City, QC), made some nice stick-handling moves through traffic towards the front of the net and slid the puck through the pads of Niagara goaltender Juliano Pagliero. The goal snapped Pagliero's streak of 169 minutes without allowing a goal. It was also the first Pioneer goal in over 156 minutes, going back to the third period of SHU's first game at Colorado College.
Just 36 seconds after they had tied the game, the Pioneers took the lead when senior Eric Giosa (Northville, MI) slammed home a loose puck in a scramble in front of the Niagara net. After several players had pokes at the puck turned away, Giosa finally pushed it in for his team leading sixth goal of the season and the Pioneers had the lead after one period.
Junior Chris Moran tied the game for the Purple Eagles midway through the second period. With Niagara on the power-play, Rocco blasted a shot from the point and Moran was in front the net to deflect it into the goal and tie the score. The game would remain tied after two periods.
Haczyk's game winner was set-up by Paul Zanette. The sophomore led a rush into the offensive zone where he dropped a pass back to Haczyk who skated in and snapped a shot high into the net for the game winning goal. Zanette added an empty net goal with 22 seconds remaining to ice it for the Purple Eagles.
Niagara held a 37-29 advantage in shots on goal. Pagliero made 28 saves to earn the win while St. Onge stopped 32 shots in for the Pioneers in a losing effort.
Sacred Heart returns to Atlantic Hockey play Tuesday night when they host UConn. Face-off at the Milford Ice Pavilion is set for 7:05 pm.