March 7, 2008

Pioneers Hold Off UConn, 6-5, To Claim Game 1 of AHA Quarters

March 7, 2008

Final Stats

Milford, CT - Senior Alexandre Parent (Boisbriand, QC) tallied two goals and two assists and sophomores Erik Boisvert (Drummondville, QC) and Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) each added a goal and an assist as Sacred Heart blew a 3-0 lead but recovered to claim a 6-5 win over UConn in Game 1 of the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.

In a game that saw a large amount of special teams play, Sacred Heart scored two even strength goals, two power play goals and two shorthanded goals.

"One way to put it is that we found a way to win," coach Shaun Hannah said. "We had to find many different ways to score."

Parent got Sacred Heart off to a fast start, scoring two of the first three goals of the game. He put the Pioneers on top with 2:13 left in the first period when he drove through a Husky defender and put home a backhand shot. Senior Scott Marchesi (South Portland, ME) also put forth an individual effort to score his second goal of the year at the 5:06 mark of the second. Parent netted his team leading 18th goal on a shorthanded tally at the 10:30 mark of the second and the Pioneers were up 3-0.

It appeared as though Sacred Heart would be able to cruise to an easy win. However, the Pioneers got sloppy and started taking penalties. SHU was called for 12 penalties in the game, leading to nine UConn power plays. The Huskies took advantage, scoring three goals in a five minute span to tie the game.

"We had a good flow in the first period and a pretty good start to the second," Hannah said. "But then we took penalties and it disrupted our rhythm and it gave away our momentum."

The first two tallies in the Husky comeback were with the extra man. Brendan Olynik scored on a 5-on-3 advantage with 6:51 left in the second to get UConn on the board. Then with 3:32 left, Matt Pedemonti deflected a puck into the net to make it 3-2. When Matthew Miller scored his first career goal with 1:48 left in the second period, the Huskies had completed the comeback.

Boisvert gave the Pioneers the lead back at the 6:10 mark of the third period when he scored SHU's second shorthanded goal of the game. However, the Huskies came right back when Jeff Sapieha poked a loose rebound into the goal at the 7:04 mark.

The Pioneers had several chances on the power play themselves, as UConn was called for 11 penalties, leading to eight SHU chances with the extra man. Sacred Heart capitalized twice, inclduing when Bear Trapp (Balcarres, SK) scored the go-ahead goal at the 8:41 mark of the third period. Trapp took a pass from Parent and fired a snapshot from the left circle that beat UConn goaltender Beau Erickson and gave SHU the lead.

Jarman added an insurance goal with 4:22 left and the Pioneers would need it because Pedemonti netted his second goal of the game with 15 seconds left. However, it would be too little too late as the SHU would clear the zone in the final seconds to perserve the win.

"Being up 1-0 in a best of three is a great scenario," Hannah said. "You always want to get that first one."

UConn outshot Sacred Heart 35-25 for the game. Stefan Drew (Oakbank, MB) made 30 saves for the Pioneers in the victory while Erickson stopped 19 shots in a losing effort.

Parent's four point night extended his point scoring streak to 17 straight games. He now has 140 career points, just two shy of second place all-time.

Sacred Heart and UConn will play game two of their best-of-three series Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Face-off is set for 7:05 pm.