SHU wins a shocker over No. 8 Yale in hockey
Published 2:06 pm, Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Winless until that instant, Sacred Heart had a moment Tuesday at Webster Bank Arena that must rival the feeling of a championship.
The Pioneers may be a program trying to establish itself in its 14th season in Division I men's hockey, but still, they'd just shocked No. 8 Yale, defeated them 7-6.
"Unbelievable," junior goalie Steven Legatto said.
Matt Gingera knocked Yale captain Brian O'Neill off the puck one last time. The buzzer sounded as the puck went to the corner. Legatto leaped into the air twice as teammates charged from all directions.
The Pioneers, without a win in 11 tries before Tuesday, had given up six goals to the eighth-ranked team in the nation, a "high-octane" Yale offense, as Sacred Heart coach C.J. Marottolo called the Bulldogs.
But the Pioneers had scored seven. Sacred Heart was 1-11.
"We came together as a team," said sophomore Chad Filteau, whose second goal won it with 4:14 left. "Nobody got down the entire game."
Sacred Heart trailed twice, had never defeated a ranked team, had lost seven of their 11 games by three or more. But games like this one, in front of a crowd of 754, are the kind that the Pioneers hope to use to build a solid Division I program.
The Pioneers, whose regular home rink is Milford Ice Pavilion, went 3-1-1 at Webster Bank Arena last year (they went 3-24-5 elsewhere), playing five games before Bridgeport Sound Tigers games. They'll play seven other games this season around Sound Tigers games, beginning Sunday against Niagara.
This was the only standalone, featuring a team that had played here in NCAA regional tournaments twice, in 2009 and in March of this year.
"We needed every ounce of energy we could muster," said Marottolo, an assistant or associate coach at Yale for 13 years.
The Bulldogs put 53 shots on goal, but about as many went wide or were blocked. Legatto made at least 13 saves in every period.
"I don't think it gets any better than putting it together against a team like Yale," Filteau said. "We beat them 7-6 when we've been struggling to score all year (shut out three times)."
After losing 8-3 to UConn a week ago, the team met.
"We vented our issues," Legatto said. "It kind of put us all on the same page."
Added Filteau, "It's the first time we looked like a team."
Yale (5-2-1) took a 5-4 lead with goals 21 seconds apart early in the third. The Pioneers rebounded just over a minute later, took a lead, survived a tying goal and scored as Filteau broke free on a three-on-two, firing a right-circle shot over Jeff Malcolm's blocker.
In early October, Sacred Heart played two games at Minnesota, which is now ranked third in one poll and second in another. The Gophers won the two games by a combined 15-0.
A former Gophers coach created a Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Olympics. The Pioneers had their own little stunner Tuesday.
"We're not having a great year at the moment," said Jim Barquinero, Sacred Heart's senior vice president for athletics and student affairs, "but we had a great moment."
Reach Michael Fornabaio at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow twitter.com/fornabaioctp.