ROCHESTER, N.Y.— Junior Jackson Barliant buried the game-winner at 2:19 into triple overtime to give the Sacred Heart University men's ice hockey team the 4-3 win over RIT in the final hour on Saturday night at the Gene Polessini Center.
The Pioneers (12-20-4) forced the deciding game three of the Atlantic Hockey first round battling the Tigers (15-19-2) to the second longest game in Atlantic Hockey playoff history & 18th longest tilt in NCAA D-1 history at 102:19.
Barliant led the Pioneers with two goals on the night, recording SHU's first and last goal. Freshman Marc Johnstone recorded his second goal of the weekend at the tail end of the first period. Sophomore Austin McIlmurray tied the game with 1:16 remaining in regulation with an extra attacker goal.
The Tigers carried over the momentum from last night as Myles Powell picked up the rebound goal at 7:04 in the period. SHU responded shortly after as Barliant buried the wrist shot at 8:12. RIT's success on the power play continued as Powell got help from a screen at the top of the slot. Johnstone knotted things up with the breakaway goal just 32 seconds later on the stretch pass from Tsekos.
Both sides cooled down mildly in the second period as the Tigers narrowly outshot the Pioneers 7-6 in the frame. RIT jumped ahead 4:29 into the third period as Erik Brown finished off the cross-ice feed from Gabe Valenzuela.
Looking to tie things for the second straight night, SHU went on the extra attacker chance with just under 1:25 remaining in regulation. A scrum for the puck ensued along the end wall in the RIT zone. Tugnutt broke free and found McIlmurray at the right circle to bury the tying goal.
The Pioneers outshot the Tigers 6-3 in the first overtime but were unable to light the lamp. The majority of the second extra stanza belonged to RIT as Magnus turned away 14 shots. SHU nearly picked up the game-winner off the stick of Kory Kennedy but his shot banked off the right post late in the second overtime.
RIT started the third extra period on the power play advantage but SHU was able to kill it off. The Pioneers caught a break off a broken stick by the Tigers as Hladin collected the puck in the neutral zone. He dished the puck ahead to Barliant as he raced through the zone and fired the wrist shot past Logan Drackett's right shoulder to force game three.
How They Scored…
7:04 – 1st Period: RIT 1, SHU 0: The Tigers broke open the game as Chase Norrish knuckled the puck on the slap shot that broke his stick from the left point. Jake Hamacher went for the redirection but was denied by the pad of Magnus. Powell was open on the right side to chip in the rebound shot.
8:12 – 1st Period: RIT 1, SHU 1: The Pioneers wasted little time answering as Stephen Hladin won the faceoff in the Tiger zone. Cotton collected the puck and wheeled the backhanded pass to the end wall for Barliant. The junior skated back towards the right circle and fired the wrist shot past Drackett's left shoulder to tie the game.
15:06 – 1st Period: RIT 2, SHU 1: The power play continued to click for the Tigers as they moved the puck around the top of the slot. Norrish dished the pass to Powell in the middle of the slot. He fired the shot through the screen for his second goal of the game.
15:38 – 1st Period: RIT 2, SHU 2: The Pioneers answered just 32 seconds later as Tsekos fired the long stretch pass out to Johnstone who came off the bench for his shift. The rookie had daylight and went bar down to beat Drackett and tie the game.
4:29 – 3rd Period: RIT 3, SHU 2: The Tigers moved the puck quickly into the SHU zone of the Pioneers dumped the puck into the other end. Girduckis pulled up at the point and dished the puck down to Valenzuela by the left circle. He dished the pass to Brown on the back side as he cut to the net for the go-ahead goal.
18:54 – 3rd Period: RIT 3, SHU 3: The Pioneers pushed the puck into the Tigers zone, pulling Magnus for the extra attacker opportunity. Bavaro broke through the scrum along the end wall and sent the puck to McIlmurray at the right circle. The sophomore fired the wrist shot top shelf, beating Drackett glove side.
2:19 – 3rd Overtime: SHU 4, RIT 3: SHU drew the fortune of the Tigers turnover on the broken stick as Hladin fed the lead pass ahead to Barliant. The junior used his speed to race into the Tigers zone and pulled up for the wrist shot past Drackett's right shoulder.
Key Stats & Notes…
- The Pioneers and Tigers played the second longest triple overtime game in Atlantic Hockey playoff history. Niagara and Holy Cross played 111:40 back on March 7, 2015.
- It is also the 18th longest game in Division I hockey history and first triple overtime game in college hockey since 2016.
- Both teams combined for 81 shots on goal with RIT holding the 49-32 edge on SHU.
- Cotton became the sixth Pioneer to record 20 or more points this season, it is the most since the Pioneers had seven skaters with 20 or more points back in 2009-10.
- Barliant recorded his second multi-goal game of the season and his fifth & sixth tally of the season.
The Pioneers and Tigers square off in the deciding game three of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. from the Gene Polisseni Center.