MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm men's hockey team played its second straight overtime game in the past four days, but this time the tie would hold as the Hawks skated to a 1-1 draw against Northeast-10 Conference rival Stonehill Tuesday night at Sullivan Arena.
The tie moves Saint Anselm to 8-12-3 overall and 2-1-2 in Northeast-10 Conference play, while Stonehill leaves Sullivan Arena with a 12-5-4 overall and 6-0-2 in league play.
More importantly, the tie also muddies a heated race toward the league's postseason tournament. While the fate for the Hawks has been nearly assured—Saint Anselm will likely take to the road for the opening round of the NE-10 Championship tournament—exactly whom they will play has yet to be decided. In what could very well come down to a coin flip to determine the top two seeds between Saint Michael's and Stonehill, the Hawks have locked up at least a #3-seed for the postseason tournament.
In a relatively clean and well-skated game by both sides, neither cast of Hawks could find the back of the net through the first two periods. Yet visiting Stonehill drew first blood early in the third period, as Garrett White found space right in front of the crease and laced one past Saint Anselm freshman goaltender Shane Joyce (Pembroke, Mass.) to take the game's first lead.
Saint Anselm, which outshot Stonehill 49-29 for the game and 15-7 in the third period alone, peppered Skyhawk goaltender Chris Tasiopoulos during much of the deficit. Just when it looked like the Hawks were about to pull Joyce in favor of another attacker, senior Sean Jenkins (Boston, Mass.) played the puck over the blue line and found classmate Kody Grondin (Hampton, N.H.) streaking up center ice. Grondin lined up a shot but the puck trickled just a few feet in front of Jenkins, who scooped it up and rocketed a top-shelf game-tying tally at the 1:50 mark of the third period.
Despite some thrilling opportunities in the overtime period, in which the Hawks outshot Stonehill 7-1, Tasiopoulos held the Hawks in check as each team was forced to settle for a tie.
Joyce moves to 8-8-3 overall while recording 28 saves on the evening and Tasiapoulos would record a game-high 48 saves while moving to 11-3-3 on the year.
While Tuesday concluded the NE-10 regular season for Saint Anselm, Stonehill has two games remaining against Franklin Pierce and another against Assumption—both league foes. How those three games finish will ultimately determine where and whom Saint Anselm will battle in next weekend's tournament semifinal.
Saint Anselm will conclude its regular season ECAC East slate with two more home games this weekend. The Hawks welcome Southern Maine Friday evening on Saint Anselm's Senior Day at Sullivan Arena, before hosting U. of New England Saturday during which a special Hawk Hockey celebration will recognize former men's and women's hockey alumni.