March 6, 2004
West Springfield, MA - The Sacred Heart University men's Ice Hockey team tied American International 4-4 in the final game of the regular season for both teams. Sophomore Bernie Chmiel (Pittsburgh, PA) netted a pair of goal for the Pioneers in its final tune-up before the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.
That lead didn't last long as Andy Walbert netted his first of four goals in the game at 12:37 of the opening frame from Jeff Valdes and Jay Fennessey.
Senior Mike Reagan put Sacred Heart back on top at 13:43 of the second period with his 11th goal of the season, but once again Walbert quickly answered for the Yellow Jackets with his second goal of the game just 48-seconds later, tying the game at 2-2.
The Pioneers regained the lead one-minute later when junior Garrett Larson netted his team leading 18th goal of the season at 15:31 of the middle frame from senior assistant captain Marc-Andre Fournier (St. Nicholas, QC) and sophomore Rocco Molianro (Dearborn, MI).
Chmiel made it a 4-2 Sacred Heart lead 30-seconds into the third period with his second goal of the game and his fourth goal on the season, with assists from freshman Pierre-Luc O'Brien (Nicolet, QC) and junior Noel Henck (Long Beach, NY).
Again, however, Walbert was able to lead AIC back as he scored the final two goals of the game at 4:17 and 8:38 of the third frame to tie the game at 4-4.
The game remained tied at the end of regulation and went into overtime where neither team could gain the advantage and the final contest of the regular season for both teams ended in a 4-4 tie.
Junior Kevin LaPointe (Quebec, QC) made 16 saves in net for the Pioneers while Frank Novello stopped 45 shots on goal for the Yellow Jackets.
Sacred Heart finished the regular season with a 12-8-4 Atlantic Hockey record, which is good for the fourth seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Pioneers will take on fifth seeded Connecticut in the opening round of the tournament on Saturday at West Point, NY. The game time is yet to be announced.