Oct. 25, 2008
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Milford, CT - Senior Stefan Drew (Oakbank, MB) made a career high 41 saves and sophomore Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) had a goal and assist as Sacred Heart recorded its first victory of the season, beating RIT 4-2 in Atlantic Hockey action Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. The Pioneers took three out of four points from the Tigers on the weekend.
A night after rallying from a three goal deficit to steal a tie, RIT seemed to pick up right where they left off, dominating the play early on in the game. Defenseman Al Mazur put the Tigers on the board first with a powerplay tally 3:40 into the game. Mazur set-up on the right point, took a pass from Dan Ringwald drove a shot past the Drew for the early lead.
The Pioneers finally got going midway through the first period when Maldenoff drove down the right side of the ice and powered his way to the goal, putting the puck past RIT goaltender Jared DiMichiel. Junior Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) gave the Pioneers the lead with 3:35 to go in the first period. Sophomore Chris Brown (Sherills Ford, NC) fired a shot from the blue-line and Johnson was in front of the goal to deflect it home for his second tally of the season. Despite being outshot 17-11, the Pioneers took a one goal lead into the dressing room.
After a scoreless second period, RIT came out fast in the third period, putting the pressure on Drew and the Pioneers. Cameron Burt evened the score at the 2:35 mark with a snapshot from the right face-off circle. However, it took the Pioneers just 11 seconds to grab the lead back as assistant captain Matt Gordon (Lynnfield, MA) showed off some great individual skill. The junior took a pass from freshman Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MB), drove to the net, faking a shot and switching to his backhand to slip the puck around DiMichiel for the eventual game-winning goal.
"The third goal was huge," head coach Shaun Hannah said. "To score that quickly after they score is a big momentum shift our way and it totally changes the rest of the game."
Mladenoff and senior Eric Giosa (Northville, MI) teamed up midway through the final period to give the Pioneers some breathing room. Mladenoff hustled down the right side of the ice with Giosa in the middle. As the puck crossed the hashmark, Mladenoff hit Giosa with a perfect centering pass and Giosa simply redirected the puck into the open net as DiMichiel slid across to late. Freshman Ryan Miniaci (Monroe, CT) got the secondary assist, his first collegiate point, on the play.
The Tigers kept the pressure on in the late stages of the game, out-shooting the Pioneers 14-4 in the final period. However, just eight days after making 39 saves against Notre Dame, Drew was spectacular again, earning his first victory of the year while making 72 saves in the two game series.
"I thought Drew was absolutley outstanding tonight," Hannah said. "There alot of funny bounces and plays in front of the net and he was able to stay with everything."
RIT finished the game with a 44-34 shots advantage. The Pioneers were whistled for just four penalties, the fewest since they were called for two infractions on January 4, 2008.
The victory was the Pioneers first against RIT since the Tigers joined the AHA in 2006. The only other time SHU had beaten RIT was November 27,2005, the year before the Tigers joined the league.
Sacred Heart is back in action Friday when they visit Army in the opener of a home-and-home series. Face-off is set for 7:05 pm.