SHELTON, Conn. - Junior Chris Johnson (Duxbury, Mass./Pomfret School) made 27 saves for his first career shutout, three players scored, and the Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team blanked Post University, 3-0, on Friday in the Sports Center of Connecticut. During a non-league game between Northeast-10 Conference scheduling partners, the Purple Knights improved to 12-8-2, while the Eagles are 2-18-1.
The Purple and Gold moved to 6-2-1 in its last nine games, as well as extending its unbeaten road run to six games in improving to 8-2-2 away from home this winter. Johnson took over sole possession of eighth place in program history with his 20th career win. He has won his last four decisions while registering a 0.75 goals-against average and a .976 save percentage in that time, yielding only two even-strength goals.
Senior Sam Finkelstein (South Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep), sophomore John Barry (South Boston, Mass./Deerfield Academy) and first-year Andrew Olevitz (Winthrop, Mass./Northern Cyclones) all scored, as Saint Michael's netted two power-play goals for the third time in six games. Senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) went 12-for-15 on faceoffs, first-year Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express) was 10-for-16 with two assists, and junior Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School) finished 19-of-31.
First-year Brandon Brown turned aside 46 shots for Post.
The Purple Knights nearly doubled the Eagles in first-period shots, 20-11, but the teams stood scoreless after 20 minutes, which included five power plays. At 6:28, the visitors went a man up, but Brown stopped all five shots sent his way, including one by Foster, who also won two draws during the power play. Johnson registered three stops during a Post power play that began at 10:42, and three shots in less than a minute by Saint Michael's after its conclusion led to the Purple Knights again going a man up at 13:28, with all three ensuing shots being saved. Johnson turned away two shots in an Eagle man advantage that started at 17:25 but lasted for only 1:29, as the teams played 31 seconds of 4-on-4 before Saint Michael's had another scoreless power play start at 19:25.
Saint Michael's broke through with two power-play goals in the second period. Salzillo won a draw at 3:55 to kick off a 5-on-4 sequence, and Olevitz found the back of the net just 23 seconds later, as Salzillo and Foster both contributed assists. The teams had overlapping penalties that led to 1:53 of 4-on-4 play, during which Brown made two saves and Johnson one, and the Purple Knights led 1-0 heading into the late stages. With a little more than five minutes to go, junior Jake Myers (Belmont, Mass./The Hill School) had a shot stopped by Brown, but a penalty was called soon thereafter. During that power play, Finkelstein doubled the lead with 16:46 gone, as first-year Sel Narby (Huntington, N.Y./Connecticut Junior Rangers) assisted. Johnson made four more saves on an Eagle power play that ended when 12 seconds remained.
Johnson registered four stops during an early Post man advantage in the third period, while senior Keegan Finn's (Yarmouth, Mass./Bay State Breakers) shorthanded bid late in the power play was turned away by Brown. The Purple Knights spent four minutes during one 4:17 stretch playing up a man, but Brown had four stops to keep it 2-0, with Johnson also denying sophomore Noah Wild's shorthanded shot around the seven-minute mark. Barry put the game out of reach with a tally with 14:09 gone, as Finn and Foster lent the helpers.
The teams rematch tomorrow at 3:45 p.m.