MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College men's ice hockey team's comeback bid fell short against the Mules from Colby College during a 4-3 loss on Monday afternoon from Sullivan Arena in a non-conference battle.
The Hawks fall to 7-8, wrapping up the 2018 portion of their schedule, while the Mules improve to 5-2-2 overall.
The Mules jumped out to an early lead in the first period at the 5:05 mark. Nick O'Connor gave the visitors the lead after a nice passing sequence from Logan Clarke and Justin Grillo. O'Connor skated into the offensive zone and lifted the puck over the left pad of Hawks' goaltender Colin Soucy (North Andover, Mass.).
Colby looked to extend the lead under the midway point of the first stanza but Soucy made a trio of saves, including a breakaway chance just under the nine-minute mark. The visitors skated into the first intermission with a 11-9 edge in shots.
The Hawks wasted little time to find the equalizer in the second period. After a turnover was caused in the Mules defensive end, junior Sean Verrier (Reading, Mass.) found the puck and back-handed it under the pad of Colby netminder Andrew Tucci with just 50 seconds gone in the period. Soucy kept it a tied game for the next several minutes for Saint Anselm but the visitors finally broke through to take a 2-1 lead with 10: 43 to play in the second period on a tally by Robert Cerepak. The Mules added their third goal of the contest 1:04 later on a tally by Quinn Doyle for a 3-1 edge.
The Hawks put five shots on net over the next nine minutes before making it a one-goal game with 59 seconds left in the second period. Sophomore Matt Chisholm (Scituate, Mass.) sent a pass to find junior Liam O'Sullivan (North Hampton, N.H.) for the one-timer that was blasted through traffic to make it 3-2 in favor of the guests.
Colby took advantage of a power play chance in the first three minutes of the third period to retake a two-goal lead. O'Connor scooped up a loose rebound in front of the net to make it 4-2 Mules with 2:32 ticked off the clock.
The Hawks looked to cut back into the lead and finally did with 10:21 remaining in the game. Senior Bryan Green (Weymouth, Mass.) sent a drive to the net and the puck bounced off the skate of Chisholm to make it 4-3.
Soucy did his part late in the third period to keep the game within reach, stopping three shots in a span of 21 seconds. That included a breakaway to deny O'Connor of scoring a hat trick. However, the Hawks were only able to put one shot on net in the final three minutes.
The Mules outshot Saint Anselm 36-27 in the game. Soucy finished the game with 32 saves in net while Tucci made 24 saves for his fifth win of the season.
Saint Anselm opens up 2019 with a trip to Plattsburgh, N.Y. for the W.B. Mason Winter Classic hosted by Plattsburgh State University at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. The two-day tournament starts on Friday Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. as the Hawks take on the Valiants from Manhattanville College.