BOSTON – Senior Sean Jenkins (Boston, Mass.) had a banner three-point night with a goal and two assists, but the upset-minded Saint Anselm men's hockey team fell just short against University of Massachusetts-Boston at Beacons Ice Arena Friday night, 5-4.
The hard-fought victory kept UMass-Boston within striking distance of the ECAC East conference title, improving to 13-2-1 overall and 8-1-0 in league play. Saint Anselm fell to 5-9-1 overall and 4-5-1 in the ECAC East.
The Hawks, featuring a different look with a new set of lines for Friday's matchup, got off to an impressive start and surged to a commanding lead midway through the opening period. Sophomore Brendon Kerrigan (Boston, Mass.) took a pass from senior Joey Agliato (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and potted his second goal of the season just 2:31 into the game. Jenkins then cleaned up a shot from senior Kody Grondin (Hampton, N.H.) just outside the crease to make it 2-0 Hawks as Saint Anselm came out firing.
The Beacons, ranked No. 11 in the latest U.S. College Hockey Association coaches' poll, proved why they have earned such distinction with some gut-check goals to close out the opening session. UMass-Boston—in particular Mike Kuhn—responded just three minutes after Jenkins' tally to cut the deficit in half. Kuhn then added a power play score with just 30 seconds remaining in the half to lock the tight battle at 2-2 entering the first intermission.
Saint Anselm was back on the attack in the second stanza, as junior Tyler Estee (Bow, N.H.) snuck a power play score to retake the lead at the 3:19 mark of period. Jenkins and junior Bryan Sullivan (Burlington, Mass.) each recorded an assist on the play.
Yet another response by the Beacons, this time off the wood of Peter MacIntyre, would pull the hosts even at 3-3 nearing the six-minute mark of the second period. Just as momentum was teetering on edge, Hawks senior Johnny Daniels (Andover, Mass.) knocked one past UMB goaltender Billy Faust to snatch away Saint Anselm's third lead of the game—his score coming off assists from Jenkins and Kerrigan.
UMass-Boston nearly tied the game as the final seconds ticked away in the second period, but Joyce made a stellar save and MacIntyre couldn't get a good handle on the puck as the horn sounded with the Hawks clinging to a 4-3 lead at the second intermission.
The third period was all Beacons, as UMB controlled the puck for much of the period. Though owning a slight 14-9 edge in the third period, the Beacons nearly doubled-up Saint Anselm in shots, 41-21, for the game. Finally, a pair of putaways by Matt Lemire in the third period would seal the Hawks' fate as an extra attacker flurry in the final minute came up empty for Saint Anselm.
The UMB line of MacIntyre, Lemire and Stephen Buco combined for three goals and five assists on the night, accounting for eight of the total 13 points scored among Beacon skaters.
Joyce fell to 5-6-1 on the year, taking the loss in goal for the Hawks. He recorded 36 saves on the night, tying a career high set last week in a 5-2 win over fellow ECAC East rival University of New England. Faust, meanwhile, remained unbeaten on the season with a 5-0-1 record while scoring 21 saves for UMass-Boston.
Saint Anselm will return to the ice Saturday with another gut-check road matchup at Babson. The Beavers, ranked No. 6 in the latest NCAA Division III poll, will play host in a 4 p.m. matchup.