SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team slipped into a tie for first place in the Northeast-10 Conference with a 3-2 loss to Stonehill College on Friday evening at Cairns Arena. The Purple Knights, now 8-7-1 overall and 5-3 in the league, are deadlocked with Saint Anselm College for first in the conference. The Skyhawks, who are 5-10-1 and 3-4-1, won for the second time in the last seven meetings.
Junior Patrick Doherty (Tewksbury, Mass./Middlesex Black Bears) recorded a goal and an assist for Saint Michael's, while first-year Sel Narby (Huntington, N.Y./Connecticut Junior Rangers) also tallied. Senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) dished off two assists and was 12-for-16 on faceoffs, while sophomore Tim Decker (Liverpool, N.Y./Canterbury School) made 23 saves. First-year Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express) was 8-of-11 on draws, and junior Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School) won 13 faceoffs.
Sophomore Jack Scannell had a goal and an assist for Stonehill, while classmates Conor Cassidy and Ryan Smith also scored. Junior Billy Palmer made 46 saves.
Narby had a chance at 5:23 of the opening period, firing from close range while crashing the net through the right circle but being stopped by Palmer. Sophomore Ryan Meade beat his defender through the right circle but was unable to get a shot past Decker at 8:50. Shortly thereafter, Narby slipped a soft shot from the mid-slot through Palmer at 11:40, with Doherty and Salzillo registering assists. Only 3:19 later, Salzillo passed from the right circle into the slot for Doherty, who tipped the puck off the left post and in to give the hosts a 2-0 edge. Smith countered just 40 seconds later, at 15:39, driving a shot from the right circle through Decker's left armpit.
The Purple Knights were a man up for the better part of the stretch between 16:20 of the first stanza and 25 seconds of the second. During that time, junior Nic Hermary (Coquitlam, British Columbia/Melfort Mustangs) and first-year Brandon Mitchell (North Scituate, R.I./Pomfret School) had back-to-back bids from close range denied by Palmer around 19:05 of the opening frame.
Palmer made a pair of standout stops in the second period to keep his team within a goal, turning away D'Antuono with his right pad at 3:24 and denying senior Keegan Finn (Yarmouth, Mass./Bay State Breakers) with a glove save with 13:32 gone. In between, Decker maintained the one-goal edge by recording consecutive right-pad stops during a Stonehill power play at 7:10. The Skyhawks broke even at 16:49, as Cassidy pounced on a rebound near the crease and buried the equalizer. First-year Cameron Stewart's (Sabattus, Maine/East Coast Wizards) tip-in out front at 18:09 was stopped before Decker made a glove save of sophomore Nicholas Godin's bid on a vacated net with 27.4 seconds remaining.
The third period saw Scannell tally the winning marker 2:34 into play. After Scannell dumped a puck from neutral ice into the left corner, junior Christopher Page beat his man to the puck and backhanded a pass into the left circle, where Scannell one-timed home a goal. Stonehill twice rung the cage in the period, allowing Saint Michael's to remain within a goal. Salzillo had a power-play try waffle boarded away by Palmer at 12:41, and first-year Thomas Flack (Toronto, Ontario/Saint Michael's Buzzers) sent a shot just wide of the left post at 15:55. The hosts played with an extra skater and Decker pulled for much of the final 2:01, and at the 19-minute mark, Hermary had the best bid during that time, taking Salzillo's cross-ice pass near the left post but having a shot stopped.
The teams complete the two-game weekend series tomorrow at 4 p.m.