Jan. 28, 2006
Milford, CT - Junior goaltender Jason Smith (St. Lambert, QC) tied his own school record with 54 saves and the Sacred Heart Pioneers men's ice hockey team held on for a 2-1 win, completing a weekend sweep of Mercyhurst Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
With the win the Pioneers improve to 16-9-1 overall and 13-6-1 in Atlantic Hockey, now just one point behind Mercyhurst for first place in the standings. The Lakers fall to 16-10-0 on the year and 14-6-0 in conference play. Sacred Heart also won the season series from Mercyhurst 3-1.
All three goals were scored in the span of 3 minutes 38 seconds in the first period. The Pioneers goals came in a back-to-back window of 1:42.
Sophomore Ben Cottreau put Mercyhurst on the board first 8:03 into the first period. After Smith made a save on defenseman Jaime Hunt's initial shot, Cottreau was in front of the net to put home the rebound. It was his 10th goal of the season.
The Pioneers answered back halfway through the opening period when junior Pierre-Luc O'Brien (Nicolet, QC) notched his team leading 14th goal of the season. O'Brien took a backdoor pass from freshman Bear Trapp (Regina, SK) and fired a shot past Laker goaltender Mike Ella to tie the game.
Senior Rocco Molinaro (Dearborn, MI) scored what turned out to be the game winning goal with 8:19 left in the first period. As the Pioneers set up their attack on the power play, Molinaro was perched next to the left post of the Mercyhurst net. When O'Brien threw a shot at the goal, Molinaro was in perfect position to tip it in for his ninth goal of the year, and gave Sacred Heart a lead it would never relinquish.
Mercyhurst out shot Sacred Heart 55-24 for the game, but Smith was rock solid in goal all night, including stopping 23 Laker shots in the second period. He tied his own school record for saves in a game, set in his first career start on October 11, 2003 at Providence.
The game, much like Friday night's affair, was of the physical nature, with both teams having several powerplays. Mercyhurst finished the game 0-10 with the man advantage, including 0-7 in the second period. The Pioneers converted on once in their five chances with the extra skater.
The Pioneers return to the ice Friday night when they open a home-and-home series with Army in West Point, NY. Faceoff at Tate Rink is set for 7:00 pm.