MANCHESTER, N.H. – A late goal by junior forward Bryan Sullivan (Burlington, Mass.) cut the deficit in half, but the Saint Anselm men's hockey team fell just short in Tuesday night's non-conference game against Connecticut College at Sullivan Arena, 2-1.
The loss drops Saint Anselm to 5-8-1 overall while the Camels reached the .500 mark for the first time since mid-November, improving to 5-5-2 overall.
It was a chilly night both on and off the ice, as the Hawks offense took nearly the entire game to solve the Camels' sophomore goaltender Austin Essery. In his first collegiate game between the pipes, Essery recorded a game-high 29 saves.
The Hawks had a handful of solid opportunities, particularly in the third period where the hosts outshot Connecticut College 15-3.
Yet Sullivan's tally—his fourth of the year—came with just four seconds remaining in the game and with an extra attacker on the ice. Senior forward Sean Jenkins (Boston, Mass.) was credited with an assist—his third point in as many games—as well as junior forward Mark Meads (Middleton, Mass.). With the offensive zone swarmed, Sullivan roped an off-balance flip shot top shelf past Essery to spoil the shutout.
Freshman goaltender Shane Joyce (Pembroke, Mass.) took his second straight losing decision, recording 17 saves on the night.
The Hawks did a much better job of staying out of the penalty box Tuesday night, especially after a weekend of highly penalized contests. Yet despite just three Saint Anselm infractions, the Camels made good on their opportunity midway through the second period as junior forward Joe Birmingham (Medford, N.J.) took a two-line pass from senior defenseman Will Leedy (Famers Branch, Tex.) up the right side, settled the puck with a touch then netted the shot right post past Joyce for game-opening tally.
Saint Anselm looked the more aggressive team after the second intermission, yet the Camels' Birmingham added his ninth goal of the year at the 10:28 mark of the third period. The junior beat Joyce five-hole from the short right zone on assists from senior JC Cangelosi (Estero, Fla.) and sophomore Greg Liautaud (Butler, N.J.).
Joyce left the ice in favor of another attacker with 1:24 remaining in the game and while the Hawks held defensively and Sullivan's goal closed the gap, the Camels rode out the third period barrage to preserve the road win.
The week will not get any easier for the Hawks, who will take to the road this weekend for a pair of ECAC East games. Saint Anselm will travel to No. 12-ranked UMass-Boston Friday for a 7 p.m. matchup before challenging No. 6 Babson in a Saturday matinee.