Sacred Heart salvages split vs. RIT men’s hockey
BRIDGEPORT — They wanted more. They salvaged a split. Sacred Heart’s men’s hockey team beat RIT in overtime Saturday afternoon 4-3 at Webster Bank Arena after a 2-0 loss Friday morning.
“We’re disappointed,” Pioneers coach C.J. Marottolo said. “I thought we played pretty well (Friday). That’s hockey. We’re happy to get the two points. We’re in a race here for home ice. Points are critical. Some way, somehow, we’ve got to get them.”
The Pioneers (13-14-3, 12-10-2 Atlantic Hockey, a win away from their highest win total in nine years) got the two points with 39 seconds left in overtime on freshman Austin Magera’s second goal. Marc Johnstone carried to the right corner and fed Magera, who’d sat out ill Friday morning as the Pioneers’ five-game winning streak ended, for the winner.
RIT wanted a review to check that the play was onside. The replay equipment didn’t work, so the call stood.
Sacred Heart sat fifth in Atlantic Hockey after the game, one point ahead of Mercyhurst, which was scheduled to play later Saturday, and one behind RIT. Four points separated third and seventh in the 11-team standings. The top five get a bye to the quarterfinals, and the top four get a home game.
The Pioneers have a home-and-home next weekend against Army, then visit league-leading American International the following weekend for two games to finish the regular season.
Sacred Heart came back twice against RIT (14-13-3, 12-9-3), then took a 3-2 lead when a bouncing puck eluded Tigers goalie Logan Drackett for captain Liam Clare to bang home. RIT tied it on an extra-attacker goal with 1:01 left.
“(The Pioneers) showed great resiliency,” Marottolo said. “We created a lot of chances. We just couldn’t score. Their goalie was really good. They blocked a lot of shots. They made it hard for us to get into those scoring areas.
“But (Sacred Heart) stuck with it, and that’s what I was most proud of. We found a way tonight. It’s disappointing they got the tying goal, but it’s just another step to climb in our dealing with adversity in different times in the game.”
With the score tied at 2-2 in the third Saturday, RIT received its first power play, which became an 82-second five-on-three.
“Our guys did a great job killing that off,” Marottolo said, “getting great sticks in lanes. (Freshman goalie Josh) Benson made some saves when he had to. Our guys felt a lot of momentum from that.”
SACRED HEART 4, RIT 3 (OT)
RIT0 1 2 0—3
SACRED HEART0 1 2 1—4
Records: RIT 14-13-3, 12-9-3 Atlantic Hockey; Sacred Heart 13-14-3, 12-10-2. Goals: R—Abbott Girduckis, Andrew Petrucci, Will Calverley; SH—Austin Magera 2, Nick Boyagian, Liam Clare. Assists: R—Adam Brubacher 2, Kobe Walker, Calverley, Girduckis; SH—Marc Johnstone 2, Clare 2, Mike Lee, Todd Goehring, Ryan Steele, Mike Crocock. Goalies: R—Logan Drackett (26 saves); SH—Josh Benson (19). Shots: R—22; SH—30.