SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team pushed its winning streak to three games behind a 5-2 victory over Post University on Tuesday evening during non-league play at Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights are 3-1-1 after having faced the 0-4 Eagles, a Northeast-10 Conference scheduling partner, for the first time.
Three first-years combined to score four goals, with each netting the first goal of their careers. First-year Paul McAuliffe (Newton, Mass./Kimball Union Academy) scored his first two goals while adding an assist, and senior Sam Finkelstein (South Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep) posted a goal and an assist. First-years Tyler Dorval (Liverpool, N.Y./Liverpool) and Cameron Stewart (Sabattus, Maine/East Coast Wizards) both netted their initial college goals, with Dorval doing so in his first collegiate game.
Senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) had two assists while winning 21-of-29 faceoffs. Junior Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School) was 18-for-25 on draws, and sophomore Tim Decker (Liverpool, N.Y./Canterbury School) made 18 saves.
Junior Brian Hurley and first-year Evan Lugo both scored for Post, and first-year Brandon Brown made 44 saves.
Saint Michael's took 17 of the 20 first-period shots, only holding a 4-2 edge near the midway portion of the stanza before firing off eight more during a 90-second juncture, beginning with Salzillo being stopped off a shot from the blue line at 8:55 before having a follow-up attempt turned away near the right post 10 seconds later. Junior Patrick Doherty (Tewksbury, Mass./Middlesex Black Bears) took a short pass to go down the slot for a breakaway soon thereafter, deking Brown but having a shot denied at 9:40.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the teams combined for five goals in a 6:38 span by 11:10 of the second period. Dorval netted the first goal of his career 3:32 in, with first-year Ethan Hendrickson's (Budd Lake, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) pass finding him alone out front, where Dorval had an initial shot saved before he put home the rebound. Just 17 seconds later, Hurley converted the equalizer, splitting the defense before sending a wrist shot into the right side of the net. At 5:04, Lugo put his team in front, carrying into the zone and firing from the slot.
McAuliffe finished the scoring burst with two goals in a matter of 2:59, first finding the tying marker at 8:11 during a power play, scoring from the left circle following Salzillo's pass. Junior Jack Ouellette (Arlington, Mass./Dexter School) also assisted. Less than three minutes later, McAuliffe forced a turnover in the neutral zone, where Finkelstein gathered and sent the puck back to McAuliffe, who carried into the zone and ripped a shot from the left circle at 11:10. Junior Nic Hermary (Coquitlam, British Columbia/Melfort Mustangs) nearly added to the lead in the final minute, having back-to-back point-blank shots turned away during a power play.
Junior Keegan Finn (Yarmouth, Mass./Bay State Breakers) kept it a one-goal game by clearing a shot off the goal line that sophomore Lucas Smith sent toward an open net at 2:58 of the third period, and Saint Michael's padded its lead at 8:20, as Salzillo's wraparound attempt near the left post found Stewart, who was crashing the net and knocked the puck home. Decker stopped first-year Anthony Giacomin's point-blank shot from the low right circle during a power play at 10:12, and Finkelstein notched an empty-net goal from just inside center ice with 20 seconds left off of McAuliffe's cross-ice pass.
The Purple Knights return to action next Tuesday at Amherst College at 4 p.m. The Mammoths are receiving votes toward this week's D3hockey.com national poll.