MANCHESTER, N.H. - Saint Anselm College men's ice hockey junior Jérémy Carignan scored on a power play 12:13 into overtime on Saturday, as second-seeded Saint Michael's College lost to the No. 1 Hawks, 6-5, during the Northeast-10 Conference Championship title game in Sullivan Arena. It was the seventh time the two met in an NE10 final, as the Purple Knights have finished as league runner-up four times in the past five years.
Senior Sam Finkelstein (South Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep) and first-year Paul McAuliffe (Newton, Mass./Kimball Union Academy) both ended up with a goal and an assist for the visitors, while senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits), junior Nic Hermary (Coquitlam, British Columbia/Melfort Mustangs) and first-year Andrew Olevitz (Winthrop, Mass./Northern Cyclones) all scored once.
Junior Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School) handed out three assists while senior Nathan Foice (Essex, Vt./The Winchendon School) blocked six shots, and both were named to the NE10 Championship All-Tournament Team. D'Antuono finished 17-for-35 on faceoffs, Salzillo was 13-for-26, while first-year Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express) was 7-for-11. Junior Chris Johnson (Duxbury, Mass./Pomfret School) made 45 saves, playing every second (72:31) of the second-longest postseason game in program history, just 1:12 short of the NE10 semifinal these same two teams played on March 2, 2000. Johnson now has 1,831 career saves, passing Derek Jackson '07 (1,804) to take over fifth in program history.
Saint Michael's finished the season 15-10-2, registering its highest win total since 1998-99, while the Hawks ended up 17-9-1. The Purple and Gold's 9-3-2 mark away from home was the best in the NE10 this winter, while Saint Anselm picked up its first and only one-goal victory. Saint Michael's led 5-2 with fewer than 12 minutes remaining in regulation, as the hosts scored the final four goals. Both of the Purple Knights' postseason games ended 6-5 in overtime this year, as they downed Assumption College in the semifinals, while this marked the fourth time they played Saint Anselm to extra hockey in the postseason.
Senior Nick Gorski, junior Kevin Curley and sophomore Mike Ferraro all had a goal and two assists for Saint Anselm, while Carignan ended up with his goal and a helper. First-year Alec Andreucci handed out two assists, and senior Brenden Cain earned the win with 36:19 of shutout relief, making 17 saves. Junior Colin Soucy allowed all five goals and had 15 stops.
Johnson denied first-year Matt Chisholm's try at 2:00 of the opening stanza after the center beat a defender down the right side before the netminder shut down sophomore Trey Aiello's bid at 5:47 from out front. The Purple Knights had a pair of shots at 6:41 as D'Antuono skated around the back of the net, trying to tuck the puck in by the right post, which Soucy denied, and Finkelstein was stopped on the rebound. McAuliffe sent a back-door pass to Salzillo, who took a one-timer by the left post at 7:40 to give Saint Michael's the 1-0 advantage. Finkelstein later made a hit in the corner and gained possession before sending a pass to D'Antuono, who then sent a short pass around Soucy to Hermary for a tap-in at the right side of the crease at 12:12. Sophomore Liam O'Sullivan picked up the rebound of Aiello's rejected bid to send one home at 16:32, bringing the hosts within 2-1.
During a second-period Hawk power play, Carignan sailed the puck through traffic and Curley got a touch to pop the puck over Johnson's left shoulder to tie the game at 4:45. Johnson faced a series of shots at 7:30, denying them all, before making a nice glove save at 8:06. The Purple Knights shut down another Hawk power play before scoring two quick goals, kicking off a 3-0 spurt. The first came at 11:08, as junior Patrick Doherty (Tewksbury, Mass./Middlesex Black Bears) blocked a shot, D'Antuono grabbed the loose puck and skated down the right side to dish for Olevitz, who one-timed a backhander from the right circle to the top left corner. Thirteen seconds later it was McAuliffe's turn, as first-year Noah Muller (Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Düsseldorfer EG) fired a shot from the left point that Soucy denied, but McAuliffe pounced on the rebound at the right post. Saint Michael's scored again at 15:54, as first-year Sel Narby (Huntington, N.Y./Connecticut Junior Rangers) took a shot that went wide left, but the puck rebounded off of the wall to a crashing Finkelstein, who slipped the puck between Soucy and the left post. Saint Michael's carried the 5-2 lead into the final period of regulation.
Johnson picked up another nice glove save of Aiello at 3:15 of the third before Saint Anselm stormed back to tie the game with three goals in a matter of 4:51. Gorski scored at 8:11, firing a shot from the right circle that took an odd bounce and went in. Johnson made a pad save of Aiello's slap shot just 46 seconds later, but senior Justin Longo made it a one-goal game with 11:38 gone, putting home a rebound. Ferraro found the equalizer at 13:04, tipping home Curley's shot. Muller's slap shot at 17:07 was turned away by Cain, and Johnson snatched Longo's bid from the left circle at 18:53 to send the teams to overtime.
Johnson made consecutive stops in the opening 15 seconds of extra time before Salzillo had back-to-back attempts turned away later in that minute. Johnson made a pad stop of Aiello at 1:06, and D'Antuono's back-door pass into the low slot for Finkelstein just bounced over his stick at 3:15. Johnson again stonewalled Aiello with a glove save at 9:39, and the hosts went on a power play with 11:18 gone. On their only attempt during the man advantage, Carignan mis-struck Andreucci's cross-ice pass into the right circle but still managed to float it over a moving Johnson into the top left corner for the winner at 12:13, marking the second straight year Saint Michael's lost the championship contest in overtime.