WORCESTER, Mass. - Senior Keegan Finn (Yarmouth, Mass./Bay State Breakers) scored the tie-breaking goal with 3:04 remaining before blocking a shot in the waning seconds as the Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team scored the final three goals to rally past Assumption College, 4-3, on Saturday at Buffone Arena. The Purple Knights remained in first place in the Northeast-10 Conference while improving to 8-6-1 overall and 5-2 in the league, while the Greyhounds are 6-7-2 and 2-4-1.
Senior defenseman Nathan Foice (Essex, Vt./The Winchendon School), who had nine assists in 52 career games entering the night, scored not only his first collegiate goal but added an assist for his first career multi-point effort, achieving the feats on his birthday. First-years Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express) and Brandon Mitchell (North Scituate, R.I./Pomfret School) also scored, with Foster tallying the first of his career while going 5-of-10 on faceoffs. Sophomore Tim Decker (Liverpool, N.Y./Canterbury School) made 35 saves, Finn blocked three shots, and senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) was 7-of-12 on draws.
Foster's goal gives Saint Michael's a school-record-tying 10 first-years who have scored, matching the 1999-2000 squad's program mark. All 12 first-years now have points this winter. The Purple and Gold, which improved to 27-9-2 against Assumption since 1995, won the season series, 2-1, as the road team earned each victory. Saint Michael's took a 2-0 decision on Friday.
Senior Mike Sorenti had a goal and an assist for Assumption, while classmate Tommy Mahoney and first-year John Fine-Lease also tallied. Sophomore David Zulauf made 34 saves, while both teams fired off 38 shots.
The hosts held a 19-11 edge in shots during the first period, taking exactly half of their shots for the game in the opening 20 minutes. Mahoney scored on a power play just 1:41 after the opening faceoff, firing home a one-timer from the right side, and Fine-Lease doubled the advantage with 6:59 gone by slipping in a shot from up close. Junior Dante Tomassini lent a hand on both goals.
With the hosts still up 2-0 more than halfway through the second period, Foice dumped the puck into the Assumption zone, but the puck took an odd bounce past Zulauf at 11:50 to bring the visitors within a goal. Sorenti countered just 2:14 later, tipping in a shot right off of a faceoff to reestablish the Greyhounds' two-goal lead. Prior to the end of the period, Mitchell struck from the left circle at 18:37, with first-year Paul McAuliffe (Newton, Mass./Kimball Union Academy) and Foice assisting.
Just 2:10 into the third stanza, Foster found the equalizer, scoring from the left side of the ice past the netminder's glove hand. First-year Thomas Flack (Toronto, Ontario/Saint Michael's Buzzers) and junior Jack Ouellette (Arlington, Mass./Dexter School) assisted. Assumption was able to kill a five-minute penalty during the middle portion of the period, with Zulauf making six saves. In the closing minutes, Finn struck for the winning goal at 16:56, deking Zulauf and firing from the slot. Down 4-3, the hosts pulled their goalie in favor of an extra attacker with 27 seconds to go, but their only bid to find the net was Mahoney's shot with two seconds left that Finn blocked.
The Purple Knights kick off a two-game home weekend series versus Stonehill College next Friday at 7:05 p.m. in Cairns Arena.