SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team dropped a 3-0 Northeast-10 Conference decision against Franklin Pierce University on Friday in Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights are 13-9-2 overall and 8-5-1 in the NE10 while the Ravens are 7-17-1 and 3-10-1. The teams finish regular-season play at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
Despite the loss, the Purple and Gold clinched the No. 2 seed in the upcoming NE10 Championship by virtue of Saint Anselm College defeating Southern New Hampshire University, 4-2, on Friday and will host No. 3 Assumption College next Saturday for a semifinal in a rematch of the 2017 title game.
Junior Chris Johnson (Duxbury, Mass./Pomfret School) registered 21 saves for the hosts during 56:29 of play as junior Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School) went 21-for-29 from the dot. Senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) was 8-for-14 and first-year Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express) finished 6-for-12.
Sophomore Alex Lester finished with a goal and assist for the Ravens as senior Evan Marek and sophomore Cameron Shepardson pitched in a goal each. Senior Tom McGuckin tallied 46 saves.
Franklin Pierce had a three-on-one opportunity at 3:25 of the opening period as Johnson waited out the play and denied junior Nicholas Fotiu's try by the right post and covered the loose puck. Sophomore Hadan Jordan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Boston Bandits) snapped a one-timer from the left circle at 6:34 that was saved by McGuckin before Johnson had a blocker and right pad save at 7:04 and 8:05, respectively. Senior Sam Finkelstein (South Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep) had a breakaway at 10:39 that led to a penalty shot that McGuckin stopped by the right post as Finkelstein tried to deke him. The Purple Knights shut down a 1:28 5-on-3 Raven advantage which included Johnson stopping a Franklin Pierce one-timer at 15:31 before covering up Marek's rebound bid. The Ravens tallied at 18:46 as Marek hit a one-timer as he came down the center of the left circle.
Senior Keegan Finn's (Yarmouth, Mass./Bay State Breakers) one-timer at 1:55 of the second stanza nicked off the post before his try from the slot at 2:10 was saved. At 7:00, sophomore William Santangeli (Oakville, Ontario/Saint Mark's School) had a breakaway with his shot going wide of the net before Shepardson scored from the slot at 9:32 for the Ravens. Finkelstein's bid toward the right post at 11:41 was turned away as he flew through the crease. After sophomore Sean Munzing's shot was blocked and redirected to the right circle, Lester was able to capitalize and send one home at 13:05 to put his team ahead 3-0.
During the third period, the Purple Knights outshot the Ravens 19-1 which included a power-play try at 5:10 by Salzillo from the point that was stopped. During a five-minute major at 8:55, Salzillo and junior Nic Hermary (Coquitlam, British Columbia/Melfort Mustangs) both hit point-blank shots back-to-back that McGuckin denied. With an extended blocker to the left post, McGuckin saved D'Antuono's one-timer at 10:04, and Saint Michael's was unable to get on the board with Johnson pulled for the final 3:05.