Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 14, 2014

Shorthanded goal lifts NU hockey to win

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON —  Stephen Pietrobon scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with 2:25 remaining in the third period, as Niagara University came from behind to defeat Robert Morris University, 5-3, at Dwyer Arena on Thursday night.

While killing a penalty, T.J. Sarcona gained possession of the puck with a poke check at his team's blue line and raced it down toward Robert Morris goaltender Terry Shafer. 

Pietrobon decided to follow. After Shafer stopped Sarcona's shot, Pietrobon pounced on the puck to score on the rebound.

"(Sarcona's) been on a few shorthanded goals now and when he gets the puck he's going to make the play on the goalie", said Pietrobon about his decision to follow Sarcona on the play. "I just wanted to follow up. If he doesn't score there's going to be a rebound and luckily I was able to put it in."

It was Pietrobon's second shorthanded tally of the season and the sixth scored by the Purple Eagles. It was also a continued show of faith in them — and the Purple Eagles' style on the penalty kill — by head coach Dave Burkholder.

"We're pretty aggressive in our penalty kill. I think our opponents know that," he said in his postgame news conference. "We let our guys go up that ice. We don't like sitting back, so we're very aggressive."

Once the puck dropped to start the game, it didn't take long for the Purple Eagles (10-15-4 overall, 10-8-4 Atlantic Hockey Association) to take the lead. At the 1:06 mark of the opening period, Sarcona's wrist shot found its way under the glove of Shafer, and Niagara was up, 1-0. Matt Chiarantano had the assist on Sarcona's 10th goal of the season.

The rest of the first period was a relatively quiet affair, with the teams combining for just 12 shots, but in the second period the Colonials (11-14-4 overall, 11-7-4 AHA) came alive. When Niagara struggled to clear the puck out from in front of their own net, the Colonials gained possession and set up Brandon Denham for the game-tying goal at the 3:57 mark. 

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