HOOKSETT, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College men's ice hockey team secured the regular-season Northeast-10 Conference title and the top seed in the upcoming NE10 Championship with a 4-0 win over cross-town rival Southern New Hampshire University on Friday at the Ice Den.
The Hawks, who clinched their third-straight regular season title and the 14th in program history, improve to 15-11-2 overall and 10-3-1 against NE10 opponents. The Penmen drop to 11-9-4 overall and 6-5-3 in league play. Both teams play again on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Sullivan Arena in the regular season finale. The Hawks will honor their senior class prior to the contest.
Senior goaltender Colin Soucy (North Andover, Mass.) stopped a season-high 33 saves in net for his fourth career shutout. Juniors Trey Aiello (Williamsburg, Va.) and Sean Verrier (Reading, Mass.) each scored a goal and had an assist. Verrier notched his 10th goal of the season.
The Hawks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead at the 3:29 mark. Senior Joey Harrington (Braintree, Mass.) won the puck battle against the boards. He found Verrier in the slot, who weaved by a defender before sending a low shot under the pads of Penmen goaltender Kurt Gutting giving Saint Anselm a 1-0 lead.
Saint Anselm nearly extended its lead at the 10:09 mark. Sophomore John Femia (Canton, Mass.) had a one-on-one opportunity against Gutting, but the netminder kicked the puck aside.
Soucy had to make a couple stops of his own while the Hawks were short-handed just under seven minutes to play in the opening period. He saved a pair of shots by Chris Moquin to keep his team up by one.
The Penmen opened the second period with energy and controlled zone time for the first two-and-a-half minutes. However, a penalty for too many men on the ice put the hosts down a player with 17:19 on the clock. Southern New Hampshire had a breakaway chance while short-handed at the 4:18 mark of the second period. DJ Goldstein skated in on Soucy, but the senior goalie was able to stop the back-handed attempt.
The Hawks extended their lead shortly after their power play ended. Sophomore Michael Foggia (Rumson, N.J.) picked up his second-career goal and second of the year at the 5:21 mark to make it 2-0.
Saint Anselm made it 3-0 at the 11:05 mark of the second. Verrier skated down the right side of the ice, faking a shot on net, before sending a pass to Aiello. Aiello skated in on net, firing a wrist shot over the blocker of Gutting.
Soucy had to make four saves in the first five minutes of the final period to keep the Penmen off the scoreboard. The Hawks kept the pressure on Southern New Hampshire through the midway point of the period, nearly extending their lead.
The Penmen pulled their goalie with 5:59 remaining in regulation to try and get some momentum but the Hawks took advantage. Junior Mike Ferraro (Northbridge, Mass.) sent a shot just ahead of the center-ice line to the open net to make it 4-0 at the 14:18 mark.
The Hawks had a slim 34-33 edge in shots but the defense blocked 11 shots. Gutting finished the night with 30 saves for the Penmen.