Purple Knights post second one-goal loss to Skidmore, fall 4-3

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team played its second one-goal decision of the year with Skidmore College on Friday, falling by a 4-3 count in Cairns Arena after losing a 1-0 decision in December. The Purple Knights are now 7-16 overall and 4-11 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) East, while the Thoroughbreds improved to 11-10-2 and 8-7-1.

Senior Josh Geary (Wellesley, Mass./Phillips Andover Academy) had two goals and an assist for Saint Michael's, while classmate Petr Soustal (Unicov, Czech Republic/Gymnazium Unicov) netted a late marker. Sophomores William Côté (Quebec City, Quebec/Rice Memorial Prep) and AJ Pieprzak (Barrie, Ontario/Ridley College) each had two assists, while senior Mike Dizgun (Montreal, Quebec/OCN Blizzard) made 29 saves.

Sophomore David Limoges (Saint-Hippolye, Quebec/Albany Academy) had a goal and an assist for Skidmore, while juniors Aaron Beck (Maribel, Wis./Lake Forest Academy) and Vlad Gavrik (Kharkiv, Ukraine/Hebron Academy) and first-year Ondrej Krajnak (Presov, Slovakia/Salisbury School) also scored. Sophomore Thomas Park (Framingham, Mass./Noble & Greenough) had a pair of assists, and first-year Ben Freiberg (Weston, Mass./Avon Old Farms) made 25 stops.

Each team potted a power-play marker late in the first period. After Dizgun twice denied Limoges on the doorstep, Beck stuffed in a loose puck at 14:04. However, Geary countered 1:22 later, taking a feed from Pieprzak and finding an open net after Pieprzak faked a defender. With 3:02 left and Skidmore on a power play, a prone Dizgun robbed senior Brendan Cottam (Belmont, Mass./Lawrence Academy) with a glove save at the right post.

Freiberg denied Geary on a breakaway five minutes into the second period, sticking out his right leg for the save, before Dizgun denied sophomore T.J. Schneider's (Sound Beach, N.Y./Milton Academy) point-blank redirect at 8:49 that was headed toward the upper right corner. Limoges skated in alone and picked the lower right corner at 10:31 to put Skidmore back on top, but Geary responded at 12:52 on a power play, taking Pieprzak's pass from the left board near the right dot and ripping a shot high to the right portion of the net.

After a scramble in the front of the net during the third period, Krajnak batted the go-ahead marker up and over Dizgun from out front at 7:52, and Gavrik padded the lead at 14:55 by picking the upper right corner from the slot. With 11.4 seconds remaining, Soustal hit the left side of the net following a scramble with his team playing 6-on-5 to make it 4-3, and a last-second effort narrowly resulted in a tying attempt being fired after the buzzer.

The Purple Knights host Castleton State College tomorrow for Senior Day at 4 p.m. The Spartans received one vote toward the D3hockey.com national poll this week.