October 27, 2009

Sacred Heart Opens Atlantic Hockey Slate With 5-3 Victory Over AIC

Oct. 27, 2009

Box Score

Milford, CT - Three days after picking up their first win of the season the Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team notched their first confernce win of the season, knocking off AIC 5-3 Tuesday night.  Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) and Erik Boisvert (Drummondville, QC) both posted a goal and an assist in the win.  Freshman Eric Delong (Oakville, MB) found the back of the net in the third period for his first collegiate goal.  Goaltender Olivier St. Onge (Wickham, QC) piled up 31 saves in net to earn his first win of 2009-10.

Sacred Heart (2-1-0, 1-0-0 AHA) controlled the action throughout the first period and had several quality scoring chances. The Pioneers nearly broke through ten minutes into the contest as Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MB) sent a puck through the AIC crease but Johnson just missed tipping the puck in for his fifth goal of the season. Three minutes later Gingera found himself skating into the slot alone but he could not gather the puck from his skates to get off a shot.

AIC’s (0-3-0, 0-1-0 AHA) best opportunity came at the five minute mark as Chris Campanale skated in on a break away after a SHU defender fell down at the blue line. St. Onge came up with a fantastic glove save, one of his nine stops in the period, to keep the game tied at zero. Sacred Heart almost capitalized on a bad hop after dumping the puck into the Yellow Jacket zone. AIC goaltender Dan Ramirez misplayed the carom, leaving the net wide open, but his defense beat the Pioneer attackers to the net to send the game into the first intermission scoreless.

The Yellow Jackets came out swarming in the second stanza as St. Onge made two saves at point blank range in the first five minutes of the period. AIC looked like they would start the scoring with 9:30 to play in the frame having two great chances on the power play. The Yellow Jackets were only denied with help from the crossbar and the right post, hitting both on two shots within fifteen seconds.

AIC would eventually strike first scoring after a puck bounced through traffic and found the stick of Mike McMillan. The senior forward roofed the shot to light the lamp after St. Onge went to the ice to make the initial save. The Pioneers would respond and tie the game with 1:02 remaining in the period earning a scoring chance off the forecheck. Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) pressured the puck in the AIC end, created a turnover, and beat Ramirez from the point to knot the game at one.

The Pioneers wasted no time scoring in the third period, jumping out to a 2-1 lead just 16 seconds into the final frame.  Boisvert unleashed a snap shot at a tough angle that beat Ramirez high to the glove side and into the top right corner.  AIC would respond seven minutes later as reigning AHA rookie of the week Adam Pleskach beat St. Onge with assists from Steve McLeod and Jeff Ceccacci.  Sacred Heart would regain the lead just 39 seconds later as Delong hit paydirt for his first career goal.  Boisvert flipped the puck from behind the net over a defender's stick from behind the net as Delong slapped it through the five hole for the tally.

AHA player of the week Nick Johnson scored what would prove to be the game winner five minutes later as he put home a rebound opportunity to extend the SHU lead to 4-2.  Arciabal Neilsson would convert on a power play opportunity from a Pleskach crossing pass to make it a 4-3 lead with 4:26 to play.  The Pioneers would hold of AIC and added a short-handed empty net goal late on the stick of Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) to seal the 5-3 victory.

Sacred Heart outshot AIC 46-34 overall while both teams went 1-6 with the man advantage.  The Pioneers return to action this weekend as they travel to upstate New York to take on St. Lawrence.  Game times are set for 7:30 pm Friday and 7:00 pm on Saturday.