SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - Three Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey players scored in the third period, helping the Purple Knights snap a tie and down Franklin Pierce University, 6-3, on Saturday during Senior Day in Cairns Arena. The Purple and Gold finished the regular season 14-9-2 overall and 9-5-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference, winning the season series, 2-1. The Ravens ended the year 7-18-1 and 3-11-1.
While finishing up the regular season with an 8-3-1 mark down the stretch, Saint Michael's nailed down the No. 2 seed in the NE10 Championship and will host No. 3 Assumption College next Saturday for a semifinal at 4 p.m. The contest will be a rematch of last year's title game, which the Greyhounds won, 3-2 in overtime.
Junior Nic Hermary (Coquitlam, British Columbia/Melfort Mustangs) scored twice for the hosts, netting the first and last markers, while senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits), junior Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School), and first-years Thomas Flack (Toronto, Ontario/Saint Michael's Buzzers) and Brandon Mitchell (North Scituate, R.I./Pomfret School) all netted one tally. Senior Sam Finkelstein (South Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep) dished off two assists.
Sophomore Tim Decker (Liverpool, N.Y./Canterbury School) made 30 saves, while the Purple Knights went 46-for-65 on faceoffs. D'Antuono was 14-for-17, Salzillo finished 12-for-16, sophomore William Santangeli (Oakville, Ontario/Saint Mark's School) had an 8-for-10 performance, and first-year Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express) went 9-for-15.
Senior Jonathan Haun and sophomores Alex Lester and Matthew Toombs scored for Franklin Pierce, while senior Austin Christopher made 35 stops.
The Purple Knights staked themselves to a 2-0 lead just 4:59 into the contest thanks to two quick goals. Following Finkelstein's rejected shot near the left side of the net, Hermary deposited the rebound for the initial strike of the game after 4:36, with first-year Sel Narby (Huntington, N.Y./Connecticut Junior Rangers) also assisting. Just 23 seconds later, Salzillo blasted a shot home from the right circle after first-year Cam Stewart (Sabattus, Maine/East Coast Wizards) picked up a loose puck near his own blue line and carried into the Raven slot before passing. Franklin Pierce equalized by the end of the period, with Lester taking junior Jack Williams' lead pass and shooting from the left circle at 17:55. At 19:21, Haun's slapper from the right circle found the upper right corner.
Saint Michael's took the lead back midway through the second period. After Finkelstein followed a failed clear behind the Raven net, he sent a pass out front for D'Antuono, who jostled to receive the puck before gaining possession and picking the upper right corner at 9:17. However, junior Travis Geraci's pass from the left circle led to Toombs' one-time, game-tying power-play goal at 13:40.
During a third period in which the visitors held a 10-9 edge in shots, the Purple Knights scored the only three goals. Mitchell gave them the lead for good with just 1:16 gone, taking first-year Ethan Hendrickson's (Budd Lake, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) touch base in neutral ice before picking the upper corner from the left circle. Junior Jack Ouellette (Arlington, Mass./Dexter School) also assisted. Flack doubled the lead at 9:02, winning a draw back to Foster before deflecting home his shot from amid the slot. Hermary iced the victory with a shorthanded goal at 16:30, fighting for possession from the last Raven defender before going in alone on Christopher. Sophomore defender Hadan Jordan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Boston Bandits) sent the outlet pass.