Pioneers Fall to Connecticut, 4-3, Finish Third in Atlantic Hockey
March 4, 2006
Storrs, CT - Matt Scherer scored the game winning goal 1:08 into the third period and Brad Smith made 34 saves in net as Connecticut held off Sacred Heart 4-3 in men's ice hockey action Saturday night at the Freitas Ice Forum.
The loss, coupled with wins by Holy Cross and Mercyhurst, dropped the Pioneers (21-11-2, 18-8-2 AHA) to third place in the final Atlantic Hockey standings. Holy Cross, which beat Bentley, won the outright championship, while Mercyhurst beat Canisius to finish second.
With their win, the Huskies jumped over Canisius into sixth place in the standings. The Pioneers and Huskies will meet for the third time in nine days next Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion in the quarterfinals of Atlantic Hockey Tournament.
Sacred Heart started the scoring with a goal at the 3:14 mark of the first stanza when freshman Kyle Tyll (Sandy Hook, CT) notched his third marker of the season. However, they would not be able to hold onto its lead. Less than five minutes later, freshman Sean Erickson notched his fifth goal of the season with feeds from Hawkins and McDougall.
At the 13:52 of the first period, the Pioneers recaptured the lead with an unassisted goal by Bernie Chmiel (Pittsburgh, PA). UConn once again responded within five minutes to tie the game at 2-2. Junior Jarrett Scarpaci tallied his second goal in 11 games, unassisted. Scarpaci took his shot from between the face-off circles and rifled the puck over the right shoulder of Smith.
Senior Chris Uber tallied the team's third goal of the game on a power play in the second period. The Pioneers were called for too many men on the ice and UConn took advantage of the penalty. Uber slipped the puck past Pioneer goalie Jason Smith (St. Lambert, QC) with help from freshman Ryan Hawkins and junior Scott McDougall.
Sacred Heart tied the game at 10:18 with a goal by senior Peter Giatrelis (Walllingford, CT). Giatrelis took feeds from sophomore Scott Marchesi (South Portland, ME) and senior Andrew Billinghurst (Fort Collins, CO) on the play that would tie the game at 3-3.
The score would stay at three-all until early in the third when Scherer scored the game-winner to bring the final score to 4-3.
The Pioneers outshot the Huskies 37-31 but, for the third time this season, Smith stymied the Sacred Heart attack to perserve a victory for Connecticut.
Sacred Heart and Connecticut will meet again in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Game time is 7:00 pm.