Pioneers Use Big Third Period in Upset Over No. 5 Notre Dame

Pioneers Use Big Third Period in Upset Over No. 5 Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— The Sacred Heart men's hockey team used four goals in the third period to upend fifth ranked Notre Dame, 6-4 at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Sophomore Vito Bavaro led the SHU offense with the hat trick on Thursday night.

The Pioneers (2-2-0) first victory over the Irish (2-2-1) is the program's first win over a top-five team since defeating top-ranked UMass-Lowell, 2-1 to open the 2013-14 season on October 11, 2013. Bavaro is the first Pioneer to record a hat trick since Justin Danforth registered one on January 26, 2016 at Mercyhurst.

Junior captain Liam Clare, sophomore Zach Tsekos and freshman Jordan Kaplan registered the other SHU scores. Freshman Marc Johnstone led the Pioneers in assists with his first career playmaker. Junior goaltender Brett Magnus recorded 29 saves between the pipes for the Pioneers.

Turning Point 

Notre Dame took the 1-0 lead just 62 seconds into the game and would hold the score for the remainder of the opening period. A back-and-forth second period featured four goals with both teams lighting the lamp twice. Bavaro & Clare recorded the Pioneer goals in the second but Notre Dame held the 3-2 edge into the third off the power play goal by Andrew Oglevie. The Pioneers went on a two-goal run with tallies by Bavaro and Tsekos in the opening 10 minutes of the third period. The goal by Tsekos gave SHU its first lead of the game at 4-3.

The top-ranked power play unit for Notre Dame capitalized on a SHU interference penalty and tied the game at 4-4 on a goal by Joe Wegwerth. SHU reclaimed the lead for good just 64 seconds later as Tsekos dished the 2-on-1 feed to Bavaro to fire home his third goal of the night at 13:24. Kaplan capped the night with the empty net goal with just a second remaining in the period to seal the 6-4 win. 

How They Scored… 

1:02 - 1st Period - Notre Dame 1, SHU 0: The Irish capitalized off a turnover in the SHU zone, Justin Wade knocked the puck loose to Colin Theisen. Another pass to the open Cal Burke who fired one top shelf from the right circle past Brett Magnus for the early score.

6:24 – 2nd Period – SHU 1, Notre Dame 1: The Pioneers got momentum going out of the first intermission, Bavaro got the breakaway feed from Hunter Fargey. The sophomore went left to right on the drag, sliding the puck past St. Cyr for his second goal of the season.

8:21 – 2nd Period – Notre Dame 2, SHU 1: Notre Dame took the lead as Bobby Nardella dumped a pass in front of the net but was kicked by a Pioneers defender, Dawson Cook collected the loose puck in the slot to give the Irish the lead. 

14:17 – 2nd Period – SHU 2, Notre Dame 2: Sacred Heart didn't back down working the puck through the Notre Dame zone. Alex Bates swung the pass from behind the net to Kaplan who found Clare in the top of the slot. The captain worked the puck from right to left and fired a wrist shot on goal past St. Cyr for the goal.

17:33 – 2nd Period – Notre Dame 3, SHU 2: The top-ranked Irish power play went on its second man advantage of the night. Jordan Gross found Cam Morrison on the tape to tape pass. Morrison worked the puck into the left side 

2:56 – 3rd Period – SHU 3, Notre Dame 3. The Pioneers on the attack working several shots on net early in the third. Rakhmatov fired one from the point but missed just wide, freshman Matt Tugnutt chipped the puck to Bavaro who fired the backhanded for his second goal of the night. 

7:33 – 3rd Period – SHU 4, Notre Dame 3. The Pioneers were fresh off a power play opportunity. Still in the Irish zone, Johnstone forced the turnover behind the net. He found his linemate, Tsekos crashing the net for the score and first SHU lead.

12:18 – 3rd Period – SHU 4, Notre Dame 4. Notre Dame earned a power play opportunity off the SHU interference penalty. There was a scrum in front of the net off the initial shot by Jack Jenkins. Wegwerth was there to collect the rebound to tie the game up once again.

13:24— 3rd Period – SHU 5, Notre Dame 4. The Pioneers had a huge two-on-one rush just 64 seconds after the Irish goal. Tsekos drew the defender on the right side and worked the puck to Bavaro for the one-timer past St. Cyr for his first career hat trick. 

19:59— 3rd Period – SHU 6, Notre Dame 4. Sacred Heart successfully defended the extra attacker chance by Notre Dame in the last 50 seconds of the period. Kaplan tapped in the feed from Johnstone for his first collegiate goal. 

Key Stat & Notes…

  • SHU earned its first win over Notre Dame with the Irish taking the previous meetings back in 2008 (3-0, 7-0)
  • The Pioneers had five multi-point scorers on the night (Bates 0-2-2, Bavaro 3-0-3, Johnstone 0-3-3, Kaplan 1-1-2 and Tsekos 1-1-2).
  • The SHU rookies contributed eight of the Pioneers 15 points.
  • Bavaro had a career night with his first multi-goal game & hat trick.

Up Next... 

The Pioneers wrap up the two-game set against the Irish tomorrow night at 7:35 p.m.