Purple Knights hold on for exhibition win over U.S. Men's National University Team
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Saint Michael's College men's hockey team (4-3-0, 2-3-0 ECAC East, 2-0-0 NE-10) hunkered down and survived a wild third period to preserve a 3-2 win over the U.S. Men's National University Team in an exhibition game at Cairns Arena on Tuesday. Sophomore Colby MacDonald (Byfield, Mass./The Gunnery School) broke the two-all tie and netted the game-winner with his first collegiate goal late in the second period. The Purple Knights then braved a 21-4 shot deficit and killed two penalties in the third to beat a squad stacked with Division I athletes.
The 2011 U.S. Men's National University Team, a collection of top collegiate ice hockey players from around the country, took a 5-4 win over Castleton State College on Monday in its first of three exhibition games in Vermont this week. Tonight's game precedes the team's final contest against the University of Vermont, which will be play at the Gutterson Fieldhouse on Wednesday. The team is preparing for the 2011 Winter World University Games in Ezurum, Turkey, from Jan. 27-Feb. 6.
The exhibition game also featured several rule changes to accommodate the rules of international play, including a mandatory goalie switch midway through the second period. The teams also used an experimental NCAA rule that disallowed a team to ice the puck while shorthanded.
For Saint Michael's, senior Fran Briand (South Burlington, Vt./Loomis Chaffee School) gave the Purple Knights an early lead with a quick shot after sophomore Alex Davidson (South Burlington, Vt./Saint Paul's School) set up classmate Michael Jangro (Reading, Mass./New Hampton School) for a well-aimed pass from behind the net.
Team USA answered with the first of what would be a four-goal second period by way of junior Brandon Contratto (West Bloomfield, Mich./Univ. of Michigan-Dearborn). Contratto's goal bore an uncanny resemblance to Briand's, as the Michigan native one-timed a behind-the-net pass from senior Tim O'Brien (Bethel Park, Pa./Penn State University). But back-to-back hooking penalties on Team USA would allow Saint Michael's junior and top-scorer Reave MacKinnon (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Winnipeg Saints) to reclaim the lead with a 6-on-4 power play goal with six and a half minutes to play. Sophomore Morgan Bell (Revelstoke, B.C./Saint Alberts Saints) quickly worked the puck to the right side, and MacKinnon crashed on a pass from senior Alex Higgins (Phoenix, Ariz./Kent School) from above the left circle to make it 2-1 in favor of the Purple Knights.
Less than 20 seconds later, MacDonald took advantage of another Team USA penalty and pounced on a rebound after senior Matt Rigtrup (Montclair, N.J./Pickering Panthers) let loose with a blazing slap shot that trickled just beyond the crease on the right side. Team USA junior Tom Ciaverilla (Novi, Mich./Adrian College) would add a goal in the 15th minute to put Saint Michael's on the ropes heading into the final period.
Team USA let loose with a tenacious offensive attack in the third period, but couldn't bury any of its 21 shots and failed to convert on either of its power plays, capping a 0-for-4 night on power play chances. The best chance for Team USA came when sophomore Tyler Pilmore (Sylvania, Ohio/Ohio University) cruised on a breakaway with two Purple Knights trailing closely behind. Bell dove to disrupt Pilmore briefly, allowing Saint Michael's sophomore goalie Mike Dizgun (Kirkland, Que./OCN Blizzard) to make the save. Bell got called for tripping on the play, which had the Team USA bench screaming for a penalty shot. After the officials discussed the play, it was determined that the trip happened after Pilmore took the shot, which allowed the Purple Knights to kill the penalty and hold on for the win.
Dizgun made a game-high 29 saves, including 21 in the final period. Senior Brendan Rimmer (Newbury, Mass./Valley Warriors) handled goalie duties for the first period and a half, making 15 saves. For Team USA, junior Dan Pyne (Warrington, Pa./Drexel University) stopped 14 shots in 32 minutes of play before senior Erik Hudson (Spokane, Wash./Iowa State University) took over and made 10 saves.
Saint Michael's returns to action on Saturday at 4 p.m., as the Purple Knights host Johnson & Wales in the opening game of the SMC Holiday Classic.
U.S. National 0 2 0 - 2
Saint Michael's 1 2 0 - 3
First Period: 1. STM, Briand (Jangro, Davidson), 2:17.
Second Period: 2. USA, Contratto (O'Brien, Sheehan), 9:07. 3. STM, MacKinnon (Higgins, Bell), 13:38. 3. STM, C. MacDonald (Rigtrup), 13:57. 4. USA, Ciaverilla (Steinour, Kranker), 15:45.
Third Period: None.
Shots on Goal: USA (10 – 15 – 21 – 46), STM (17 – 16 – 4 – 27)
Saves: USA, Pyne (31:59), 14 saves; USA, Hudson (26:56), 10 saves. STM, Rimmer (31:59), 15 saves; Dizgun (28:01), 29 saves.