Bridgeport, CT- The Sacred Heart Pioneers are in the midst of their program’s best hockey season. They earned their first national ranking earlier in the year and sit atop the Atlantic Hockey Association standings for the first time in program history. Saturday saw a huge step forward with the announcement of a new on-campus hockey rink. That night, CJ Marottolo’s team built on the momentum with a dazzling offensive display against the Yale Bulldogs.
SHU’s 4th ranked power play in the country took the ice 2:41 into the game on a Brett Jewell trip. Jason Cotton broke the ice 35 seconds into the power play with his 16th goal of the year. Less than two minutes later, Vito Bavaro got to the left face off dot and ripped a shot home for a 2-0 lead. Yale’s power play got a chance soon after, but failed to convert. In fact, Matt Tugnutt added a short handed goal for a 3-0 lead. The Pioneer’s scoring outburst ended 15:17 into the frame when Austin Magera made it 4-0 and chased the Eli’s starting goalie Corbin Kaczperski with four goals allowed on nine shots faced.
Yale did offer resistance in the second. Dante Palecco scored a power play goal to get the Bulldogs on the board 1:15 into the second. The Elis tested the Pioneer defense, but couldn’t stay out of the box themselves. Luke Stevens took a five minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind. On the ensuing power play, Ryan Steele apparently scored for a 5-1 lead. The officials reviewed and waived the goal off though. In the dying seconds of the major, Jordan Kaplan landed a score which withstood referee scrutiny and made the game 5-1 going into intermission.
Evan Wisocky tacked on a sixth Sacred Heart goal for his first collegiate tally. Brett Jewell notched a power play goal for Yale with a minute late, but the game was already decided by then. SHU claimed a 6-2 victory.
Yale drops to 8-10-0 on the season.
Nicholas MacNab stopped 18 of 20 shots in relief.
The Bulldogs play UConn on Sunday afternoon in the Tournament’s consolation game. Puck drops in Bridgeport at 4 pm ET.
Sacred Heart improves to 15-8-2.
This is the fifth time the Pioneers have scored six or more goals in a game this season. The offense now ranks second nationally (3.92 goals per game) behind only North Dakota.
Josh Benson stopped 21 of 23 shots faced.
“I was really proud of our guys tonight,” said SHU Head Coach CJ Marottolo. “We got off to an incredible start. Our execution was exactly where we wanted it to be. It was a great ambiance out there tonight. ur players enjoyed playing in that kind of environment.”
The Pioneers face the Quinnipiac Bobcats for the Connecticut Ice Festival’s inaugural championship on Sunday night. Puck drops at Webster Bank Arena at 7 pm ET.