March 12, 2010
Milford, CT - Freshman goaltender Steven Legatto (Kelowna, BC) stopped 36 shots and recorded his second career shutout as the Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team defeated Holy Cross 4-0 Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) scored his 26th goal of the season and NCAA leading eighth game winner in the victory. The Pioneers now lead the best of three quarterfinals series 1-0 with a chance to advance to the conference semifinals tomorrow night.
Holy Cross (12-18-6) finished the first period with a 12-6 advantage in shots through what would be a scoreless frame. The Crusaders nearly opened the scoring at the 7:45 mark as Everett Sheen led a two-on-one rush and Kyle Atkins ripped a shot in the slot in transition that was turned away by a strong save from Legatto. The Pioneers had a great chance two minutes later as Eric Delong (Oakville, MB) had the puck deep in the offensive end before Holy Cross netminder Thomas Tysowsky poked the puck off his stick.
Sacred Heart (19-12-4) winger Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MB) had a great chance to score with 2:25 to play in the frame as he found himself on a break away. The sophomore forward made a move to his back hand but was robbed by a great toe save from Tysowsky, one of his 32 total stops. Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) came within inches of giving SHU the lead seconds before the intermission but his deflection of a point shot rang off the post.
The Pioneers appeared to have opened the scoring just moments into the second period but what would have been a Reid MacLeod (Teulon, MB) marker was waived off due to a crease violation. The Crusaders had a golden opportunity with 11:45 on the clock but Jordan Cyr had the puck bounce off his stick with plenty of room to operate in the low slot.
SHU would get the games first goal after capitalizing on two Holy Cross mistakes that led to a five-on-three power play. Paul Ferraro (Pleasantville, NY) snapped a shot from the point just wide, but Johnson got the carom off the boards and lit the lamp with the rebound to make it a 1-0 contest. Holy Cross had a chance to knot the game 25 ticks before the second intermission but Erik Vos' screaming one timer was turned away by Legatto.
The Crusaders had a flurry at the nine minute mark of the final period but Legatto would come up huge for SHU making three saves on the doorstep. Head Coach C.J. Marottolo commented on the outstanding play of his netminder, "He (Legatto) made huge saves at crucial moments of the game. He did a great job all night."
Sacred Heart extended its lead to 2-0 with 7:47 to play in the final period. Delong forced a turnover along the boards just inside the offensive zone and was able to kick the puck to Erik Boisvert (Drummondville, QC). Boisvert flipped the puck to Ryan Miniaci (Monroe, CT) at the point who snapped a shot through traffic that found the back of the net for his first goal of 2009-10.
The Pioneers used their speed and transition offense to make it a 3-0 affair with 3:15 remaining. Patrick Knowlton (Colorado Springs, CO) skated strong up the right wing and made a nifty move to put Tysowsky on the ice. The junior forward sent a pass through the crease that Jarman banged home for his 12th goal of the year. SHU added an empty net goal with 1:43 before the final horn as Delong notched his 14th marker of the season to seal the win.
Marottolo was very satisfied with his team's performance Friday night, "I am extremely proud of how the guys competed against a well coached Holy Cross squad. We did a lot of little things right defensively, which is key in the playoffs. They did a good job containing us for most of the game but we got more pucks and people to the net in the third period and were able to get the win."
Sacred Heart is now just one win away from advancing to the final four of the Atlantic Hockey tournament. The Pioneers will look for that victory tomorrow night at the Milford Ice Pavilion, faceoff is set for 7:05 pm.