Pioneers Drop Atlantic Hockey Opener to Niagara

Pioneers Drop Atlantic Hockey Opener to Niagara

BRIDGEPORT, Conn.— The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team opened Atlantic Hockey play with a 3-2 loss to Niagara University on Friday night. The Pioneers (2-4, 0-1 AHA) 2-0 lead was erased by the Purple Eagles (3-2, 2-0 AHA) scoring three unanswered goals to take the series opener at Webster Bank Arena. 

Freshman Marc Johnstone & sophomore Jason Cotton picked up their first collegiate goals for the Pioneers. Junior Liam Clare, freshman Jordan Kaplan & Johnstone all registered assists. Junior Brett Magnus recorded 39 saves in goal for the Pioneers.

Turning Point….

SHU got off to a hot start scoring both its goals in the first three minutes of action by Johnstone & Cotton. The Purple Eagles made the switch in goal to Brian Wilson immediately after. The Niagara offense also got as well taking on one in the first for the 2-1 deficit. The Pioneers seemed to slow down on the offensive attack firing just nine shots in the remaining two periods, including just one in the third. Niagara capitalized on two power play goals and SHU defensive breakdowns to cap the comeback. The Pioneers were outshot 42-15 on the night. 

How They Scored… 

1:03 – 1st Period: SHU 1, Niagara 0: The Pioneers worked the puck into the Purple Eagles zone offense. After Niagara retained possession, Kaplan caused the turnover. Johnstone was there to collect the puck and drive to the net, sliding the puck past the extended Guillaume Thérien for his first collegiate goal.

 2:53 – 1st Period: SHU 2, Niagara 0: SHU worked a power play after Niagara had too many players on the ice. On the man advantage Clare chipped a backhanded pass to Johnstone in the slot who poked the puck to Cotton for the one timer off the crossbar for his first collegiate goal.

8:44 – 1st Period: SHU 2, Niagara 1: Niagara started controlling the possession of the puck working it deep into the Pioneers zone. Derek Brown got the puck from behind the net to Derian Plouffe who fired the shot in on goal. Eric Cooley was net front to put home the rebound shot top shelf.

13:07 – 2nd Period: SHU 2, Niagara 2: On the power play, Noah Delmas sent a puck wide from the top of the slot. James Roll was there for to collect the rebound off the back boards, making the centering pass to a wide open Tanner Lomsnes to tie the game.

0:59 – 3rd Period: Niagara 3, SHU 2: The Purple Eagles took advantage off a SHU penalty that carried over from the final seconds of the second period. James Roll picked up the puck and fired a taper to Plouffe in stride for the breakaway chance. Plouffe went top shelf blocker side against Magnus to sink the game winner for Niagara.

Key Stats & Notes

  • Johnstone picked up his second multi-point game of the season.
  • Cotton got on the board in his 14th collegiate game.
  • SHU picked up just its third power play goal of the season, now 17.6% on the man advantage. 

Up Next

The Pioneers wrap up the two-game series against Niagara tomorrow afternoon at 2:05 p.m.