Late Comeback Falls Short for the Pioneers in Series Finale

Late Comeback Falls Short for the Pioneers in Series Finale

BRIDGEPORT, Conn.— The Sacred Heart men's hockey team late comeback attempt in the third period fell short, dropping its series finale to Canisius 3-2 on Sunday afternoon.

The Pioneers (3-6-0, 1-3 AHA) put up two goals in the third period and drew a big power play with 2:13 to go but were unable to tie the Golden Griffins (3-3-1, 3-2-1 AHA) in the final meeting of the season for both teams at Webster Bank Arena. Sophomores Ruslan Rakhmatov & Jason Cotton registered the SHU third period scores. 

Freshman Marc Johnstone picked up an assist in the fourth straight game. Fellow rookie Matt Tugnutt registered an assist & sophomore Austin McIlmurray led SHU with a multi-assist showing. Sop Junior Brett Magnus registered 26 saves in goal for the Pioneers.

Turning Point…

Canisius owned the puck possesion in the first two periods, picking up goals by Ryan Schmelzer & Felix Chamberland in the final four minutes of both periods. With a 21-18 shot deficit into the third SHU picked up the tempo following yesterday's six goal showing. The Pioneers drew a big interfefence penalty halfway through the period. Rakhmatov buried the power play goal from the top of the slot at 10:52 to bring the score to 2-1. David Bennett picked up a turnover and drove the puck into the SHU zone, burying the goal at 15:48.

SHU continued to battle working an extra attacker opportunity at 16:40 in the third. McIlmurray worked the puck to Johnstone on the backboard and he found Cotton charging to the net to put the game at 3-2. The Pioneers drew a big major hitting from behind penalty at 17:47 in the third. SHU went on the attack once again putting up five shots on goal in the final minute of regulation but Simon Hofley held the Pioneers with several big stops to leave the final at 3-2.

How They Scored…

16:07 – 1st Period – Canisius 1, SHU 0: The Golden Griffins worked the breakaway opportunity with Ryan Schmelzer leading a pass out to line mate Jeff Murray. The right wing took the puck from neutral ice to the Pioneers right circle, finding Schmelzer on the trail to bury the puck top shelf for first goal of the game.

16:15 – 2nd Period – Canisius 2, SHU 0: The Golden Griffins caught the Pioneers on a line change as Cameron Heath fed the tape-to-tape pass to Dylan McLaughlin on the SHU blue line. Canisius had the two-on-one rush, McLaughlin found Felix Chamberland wide open charging down the left side to put the puck past the diving Magnus.

10:52 – 3rd Period – Canisius 2, SHU 1: The Pioneers had solid puck movement on the power play, as Tugnutt worked puck from the halfboard to the left point. McIlmurray immediately dished the puck to Rakhmatov, connecting on the one timer from the middle of the slot for his first goal of the season.

15:48 – 3rd Period – Canisius 3, SHU 1: The Pioneers turned the puck over in the Golden Griffs end. Bennett picked up the puck in neutral ice, taking the puck into the right circle and beat Magnus blocker side for the eventual game winner.

16:54 – 3rd Period – Canisius 3, SHU 2: Cotton earned the faceoff win as SHU went on the extra attacker opportunity looking to score. McIlmurray picked up the puck along the halfboards. He dished the puck to Johnstone behind the net. The rookie had the puck presence finding Cotton at the doorstep for the backhanded goal.

Key Stats & Notes…

  • Johnstone is the first Pioneer to pick up points in four straight games this season as he added his eighth assist. He leads the Pioneers with 10 points through 9 games.
  • Cotton has found his rhythm, putting up goals in back-to-back games.
  • McIlmurray picked up his first multi-assist game since November 23, 2016 at AIC.
  • SHU committed just one penalty in the game for the lowest penalty minute total of the season (two minutes).

Up Next… 

The Pioneers will travel to Springfield, Mass. for a weekend series at AIC beginning on Friday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m.