MANCHESTER, N.H. – Vin D'Amato (Sutton, Mass.) tallied his first-career hat trick and Shane Joyce (Pembroke, Mass.) made 24 saves in his second shutout of the season to lead the #2 Saint Anselm College men's ice hockey blanked #3 Southern New Hampshire University, 3-0, in the Semifinals of the Northeast-10 Championship on Saturday evening at Sullivan Arena.
With the win, the Hawks improve to 12-11-3 and advance to the NE-10 Championship title game against the winner of the Semifinal between top-seeded Stonehill and fourth-seeded Assumption at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
D'Amato scored a goal in each period to complete his first hat trick at Saint Anselm. He opened the scoring at 18:28 of the first period, putting home a loose puck in close to put the Hawks ahead. Bryan Green (Weymouth, Mass.) and Trevor Kacz (Dighton, Mass.) earned assists on D'Amato's opener.
The score remained 1-0 until D'Amato found the roof of the net off a backhand pass from Brendon Kerrigan (Boston, Mass.) on the near boards at 8:07 of the second period. CJ Blaszka (Brookfield, Conn.) also recorded a helper on D'Amato's second and the score remained 2-0 after two periods, as the Hawks outshot the Penmen 26-12 through 40 minutes.
With Saint Anselm holding onto a 2-0 lead, Southern New Hampshire pulled goaltender Ryan Slatky to try and find a way back. However, Kerrigan and Bryan Sullivan (Burlington, Mass.) again set up D'Amato to complete the junior's hat trick with an empty-net goal with 2:14 remaining.
Slatky had previously denied D'Amato his hat trick on a 2-on-1 late in the second period.
Slatky made 36 saves for the Penmen in the loss and fell to 3-11-3 on the season. Joyce stopped all 24 shots he faced for the Hawks to improve to 10-8-3. Shots for the game were 39-24 in favor of Saint Anselm.
Both teams were held scoreless on five power-play chances in the game.
The Hawks will await the winner of Stonehill-Assumption in the NE-10 Championship game on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the site of the highest remaining seed. The time for the game is yet to be determined.