Niagara Gazette — The Niagara hockey team battled back from two goals down but fell victim to the Sacred Heart Pioneers, 4-3 on a last-second goal Friday evening at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
After a trio of goals were scored in each of the opening two periods, the game seemed to be headed to overtime, but Mitch Nylen was able to snap home the go-ahead goal with just .09 seconds remaining to get the regulation win.
Ryan Rashid and defensemen Tyler Akeson and Vincent Muto accounted for the scoring. Adrian Ignagni started in net for the Purple Eagles, making four saves, but was replaced by Jackson Teichroeb six minutes into the contest. Teichroeb finished the contest with 32 stops.
Niagara, 7-15-3 overall and 7-8-3 in the Atlantic Hockey, went 1 for 4 on the power play and killed all but one of five penalties.
“From start to finish we had a lot of guys who were non factors in the game,” head coach Dave Burkholder said. “You can’t give a team two faceoff goals in college hockey and expect to win.”
The Pioneers (7-18-0, 6-12-0 AHA) needed a little over five minutes to open the scoring, as a clean faceoff win from Justin Danforth slipped back to Jordan Minello who beat Ignagni glove side for his fourth of the season. Sacred Heart’s Brian Sheehan responded just 30 seconds later to give the Pioneers a two-goal cushion and force the early Niagara goaltending change, bringing in Teichroeb.
The Pioneers wasted no time in testing the freshman goaltender as Justin Danforth raced in on a breakaway, but he couldn’t lift his backhand attempt over the sliding pad of Teichroeb.
Niagara put a dent into the scoreboard with under three minutes remaining in the first off the stick of Akeson via assists by Sam Alfieri and Phil Nasca. Just seven seconds after a Sacred Heart penalty expired, Pioneer goaltender Andrew Bodnarchuk gave up a rebound to Akeson at the top of the faceoff circle and the freshman buried the slap shot top-shelf to slice Sacred Heart’s lead in half.