Men's ice hockey falls to UMass Boston, 4-2, Houghton and Ouellette net first goals

Men's ice hockey falls to UMass Boston, 4-2, Houghton and Ouellette net first goals

BOSTON, Mass. - Senior Pat Houghton (Westfield, Mass./Pomfret School) and sophomore defender Jack Ouellette (Arlington, Mass./Dexter School) both tallied their first career goals, and the Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team remained within a goal of the University of Massachusetts at Boston until late in a 4-2 loss on Friday evening at Beacons Ice Arena. The Purple Knights fell to 8-13-2 overall and 4-11-1 in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC), while the Beacons are 12-7-3 and 7-6-2. UMass Boston advanced to the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament Final Four.

Sophomore Chris Johnson (Duxbury, Mass./Pomfret School) made 41 saves for his 13th career 40-stop outing. He became just the sixth Purple Knight goalie ever with 700 saves in a season, improving his total to 714 and passing Dave Donzanti '15 (680 in 2013-14) for eighth in school annals. He is one short of matching Andy Joy '05 (715 in 2002-03) for seventh, and became the eighth Saint Michael's goalie with 1,300 saves (1,339) for a career. Senior Connor Mitchell (New Milford, Conn./Kent School) became the 14th Purple Knight to appear in 100 career games, extending his consecutive games streak to 83. He has missed only one possible contest in four years.

Senior Justin McKenzie (Hawthorne, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) won a team-high eight faceoffs, and junior Keegan Finn (Yarmouth, Mass./Bay State Breakers) went 5-for-10 at the dot.

First-year Ryan Cusin had a goal and three assists for UMass Boston, and junior Colin Larkin posted one goal and one helper. First-year Jordan Bustard made 26 saves.

The Beacons held just an 11-10 edge in shots during the opening stanza, and Houghton gave the Purple Knights a 1-0 lead with 10:29 gone by knocking home a rebound of senior Josh Dickman's (Kapaa, Hawaii/Saint Paul's School) saved shot. Classmate Danny Divis (Media, Pa./Minnesota Wilderness) also assisted. Larkin countered just 1:50 later on a power play. The hosts held a 19-8 advantage in shots in the next period, taking a 2-1 edge into the locker room around Johnson's 18 stops. Sophomore Gabe Chuckran netted the go-ahead goal at 8:39 when his shot from the slot hit a Purple Knight and deflected into the net.

Ouellette drew Saint Michael's even 12:27 into the final period, sending a power-play shot across the goal mouth. Senior Caleb Lothian (Franklin, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep) and sophomore Colin Biebel (Roxborough Park, Colo./Walpole Express) assisted. UMass Boston again countered quickly, with Cusin potting the winner 53 seconds later. Saint Michael's pulled Johnson in favor of an extra skater at 17:15, and Biebel and junior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) both fired shots that were stopped by Bustard. The Purple Knights were whistled for a penalty at 17:51, and senior Albee Daley netted an insurance tally on the power play 41 seconds later.

The Purple Knights visit Babson College tomorrow at 4 p.m. The Beavers are receiving votes toward both Division III national polls this week.