Jan. 22, 2010
Milford, CT - The Sacred Heart men’s ice hockey team kept the longest unbeaten streak in the nation alive Friday night as the defeated Canisius 4-2 at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) notched two goals and is now tied for the conference lead with 17 for the season. Steven Legatto made 36 saves in net for SHU including several clutch stops in the closing moments.
Sacred Heart (10-9-3, 8-6-2 AHA) had the first two scoring chances of the game off the stick of sophomore Matt Gingera (Winnipeg, MB) at the 11:30 mark. Gingera would miss a rebound opportunity just wide and was robbed from a shot in the left circle moments later by Golden Griffins goaltender Dan Morrison. Evan Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) earned a break towards the net with 9:10 to play but the play was broken up by a diving poke check by the netminder. The Golden Griffins would strike on the scoreboard first moments later as Matt Zuke threw a backhander on net that deflected off a SHU defender and into the net.
Canisius (11-11-3, 9-8-2 AHA) gave the Pioneers a golden chance to tie the game with 4:20 remaining in the period, turning the puck over in the defensive end. Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) forced the turnover and got the puck to Johnson who whistled the shot just wide. The Pioneers would tie the game two minutes before the first intermission. Mitchell Stretch (Saskatoon, SK) started the play with a pass up ice to Patrick Knowlton (Colorado Springs, CO). Knowlton fired a pass cross ice, just out of the reach of Morrison, and the puck was one-timed into the open goal mouth by Johnson for his 16th marker of the season.
The Pioneers would score early in the second period to take a 2-1 edge. The Golden Griffins attempted to clear the zone but the pass was intercepted by SHU defenseman Chris Brown (Sherills Ford, NC). Brown shoveled the puck ahead to Boisvert in the slot who lit the lamp for his seventh goal of 2009-10.
Tommy Castonguay (Rimouski, QC) nearly made it three unanswered goals as the Canisius goalie just got a piece of the freshman’s shot. The puck then trickled towards the net before being wiped away by a defenseman. The Griffs would have two power play opportunities in the period but the Pioneers would be successful on both penalty kills to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
The Golden Griffins nearly tied the game at two just seconds into the final frame as a loose puck sat in the SHU crease. Captain Corey Laurysen (Ottawa, ON) dove at full extension to knock it away and keep the Pioneers on top. Canisius had several chances to tie the game and buzzed throughout the period including a tipped puck by Zuke that missed the net wide right by inches.
Sacred Heart would turn the tables on a counter attack as Anthony Yelovich (Little Falls, NJ) scored on a tough angle back handed shot that beat Morrison through the five hole with 8:21 remaining to give SHU a two goal cushion. That lead would prove huge as one minute later a dump in by Ben Parker of Canisius would take a crazy bounce off the glass and over Legatto to make it a one goal game.
Canisius nearly leveled the game as Vincent Scarsella redirected a shot in the slot. Legatto made a sparkling glove save, his best of the night to keep Sacred Heart ahead. The Pioneers would hold on the rest of the way and Johnson added the empty net goal with the assists from Knowlton and Jarman to ice the 4-2 win and give SHU two points in the standings. The Golden Griffins outshot Sacred Heart 38-34 overall but the Pioneers dominated in the face-off circle to earn the victory.
The win marks the longest unbeaten streak in Sacred Heart history at eight games, 7-0-1. The two teams meet again tomorrow night in the series finale at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Game time is set for 7:05 pm