PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Saint Anselm College men's ice hockey team rallied from a two-goal deficit in the second period and scored the next four to take down nationally regarded Manhattanville College, 6-4, on Friday afternoon at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena.
With the win, the Hawks (8-8-0) will play the winner of the Plattsburgh State/Connecticut College game in the Championship contest of the W.B. Mason Classic on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. The Valiants, which were receiving votes towards both the D3hockey.com and USCHO Division III polls, fall to 7-3-2 overall.
There were six different goal scorers for the Hawks in the victory, with five players having multi-point games.
The Valiants jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just 1:19 into the first period. Matt Lippa received a pass from Marco Ferraro in the slot and wristed a shot over the pad of senior netminder Colin Soucy (North Andover, Mass.).
The Hawks took a cross checking penalty with 15:01 left in the opening period. Niko Happo took a shot midway through the power play from the point and the puck sailed through traffic. However, Soucy was easily able to snag it out of the air to keep his team only down one.
The Hawks had a great opportunity to even things up on a breakaway chance by senior Bryan Green (Weymouth, Mass.) just before the midway mark of the period. His shot beat Valiants goalie Tyler Feaver, but hit the left pipe.
Saint Anselm finally found the equalizer thanks to a strong forecheck. Junior Dave Almeida (Bristol, R.I.) took a shot in traffic from the point and beat Feaver to make it 1-1 at the 10:56 mark. Senior Kevin Curley (Avon, Mass.) and junior Trey Aiello (Williamsburg, Va.) assisted on the tally.
The Valiants were given another power play chance with 6:55 left in the period but the Hawks defense came up big with a pair of blocked shots to keep the game tied. Saint Anselm got an extra man opportunity of its own with 4:05 remaining in the opening stanza but only one shot reached the net.
Manhattanville scored with 13 seconds left in the period on Lippa's second goal of the game. The puck bounced around in front and Lippa buried it behind Soucy to give his team a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Valiants extended their lead with 4:30 ticked off the clock again by Lippa. After successfully killing off a penalty, Manhattanville forced a turnover in the Hawks defensive zone and Lippa found the puck in front of the net to give his squad a 3-1 lead. The Valiants maintained pressure for the next several minutes putting four shots on net by the midway point of the period.
The Hawks had a chance to get back into the game just passed the nine minute mark of the second with a pair of shots right in front of the net by sophomore Michael Foggia (Rumson, N.J.). However, Feaver kept both out of the net.
Green finally was able to cut the deficit to one goal at the 17:04 mark. He sent a blast from the right point over the glove of Feaver to make it 3-2. Saint Anselm found the equalizer with 40 seconds left in the period. Junior Sean Verrier (Reading, Mass.) took a shot from the right side and the puck squeaked through the legs of Feaver, barely crossing the line to make it 3-3 heading into the break.
Manhattanville nearly took the lead just before the two minute mark of the final period. Joel Knight's shot drilled the left pipe on a blast from the point. The Hawks were the ones that capitalized on a dirty goal with 5:56 gone in the third to take a 4-3 lead. The puck was trickling around the net before freshman Kilian Hammersmith (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) pushed the loose puck in while sprawled out on the ice. Saint Anselm added to its lead 50 seconds later on a tally by senior Brian Cameron (Wakefield, Mass.) with a shot from inside the slot.
The Valiants had to kill off a short five-on-three penalty late in the third. After the first penalty expired, Eric Berglund scored a short-handed goal with 4:34 remaining in the period. After going back on even strength, the Hawks went down a player with 3:20 left in regulation. Berglund looked for the equalizer with a chance right in front of the net but Soucy made the point-blank save. Freshman Anthony Iacullo (Barrington, Ill.) blocked a shot in the Hawks defensive zone, before scoring the empty-net goal with 1:23 left in regulation to give his team a 6-4 lead.
Soucy finished the game with 30 saves in net, combining for 16 in the final two periods. Feaver finished the night with 28 saves for the Valiants. Shots on net were even at 34, with the Hawks outshooting their opponent 26-18 in the last two periods.