Pioneers Edged By Notre Dame, 3-1 In Series Finale

Nathan Perry (Credit Mike Miller Photography)
Nathan Perry (Credit Mike Miller Photography)

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— The Sacred Heart men's hockey team fell to fifth ranked Notre Dame 3-1 in the series finale on Friday night. The Fighting Irish (3-2-1) worked a 43-25 shot advantage over the Pioneers (2-3) to earn the series split at Compton Family Ice Arena.

Sophomore Austin McIlmurray recorded his third goal of the season for SHU. Junior Stephen Hladin registered his second assist and sophomore Ruslan Rakhmatov picked up the helper for the third straight game.

The Sacred Heart penalty kill went 4-4 on the night to hold the top-ranked Fighting Irish power play unit (43.8%) scoreless on the man advantage for the first time all season. Senior Nathan Perry made a career-high 40 saves in goal for the Pioneers including a clean sheet in the final period.

Turning Point…

Notre Dame got off to the early lead once again, scoring in the first five minutes of the period. The Fighting Irish added two more in the second half of the middle frame to take a 3-0 lead. After just eight shots through the first two periods, the Sacred Heart offense went to work firing 17 shots in the final period.

McImurray got the Pioneers on the board on the assists by Rakhmatov & Hladin as SHU worked the puck off the power play. Sacred Heart looked to answer late in the period with the extra attacker opportunity. Cale Morris made several big stops to hold SHU to just one goal.

How They Scored...

3:51 – 1st Period – Notre Dame 1, SHU 0: Joe Wegwerth drove the pass from Jordan Gross down the right side, muscling his way to the net and stuffing the puck past perry for the early Irish score.

12:54 – 2nd Period – Notre Dame 2, SHU 0: Jack Jenkins spinned through on the Pioneers zone off the feed from Dawson Cook. Jenkins sent the no-look pass from the left circle into the slot with Cook deflecting the puck to the back-left post for the second score. 

16:27 – 2nd Period – Notre Dame 3, SHU 0: Off the power play kill by Sacred Heart. Andrew Peeke fired the slapshot from the point, Perry made the stop but was out of the crease to the left side giving Colin Theisen the open rebound chance that was deflected in by Wegwerth for his second goal of the night. 

08:31 – 3rd Period – Notre Dame 3, SHU 1. The Pioneers earned the favor of a few Irish penalties in the third period. SHU worked the puck up at the point in the Irish zone as the man advantage wrapped up. Hladin worked the puck from the right side to Rakhmatov in the middle who then fed McIlmurray the one-timer from the left side for the goal.

Key Stats & Notes

  • The Pioneers hold a +4-scoring margin (7-3) in the third period.
  • Perry's 40 saves set a new career best after registering 39 saves twice (at RIT, at Air Force) last season.
  • Rakhmatov is the first Pioneer this season to record a point in three straight contests.

Up Next…

The Pioneers shift focus to Atlantic Hockey play with a return to Webster Bank Arena for a four-game homestand. SHU opens conference play with a two-game series with Niagara beginning Friday, October 27 at 7:05 pm.