COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team heads into the Northeast-10 Conference Championship as the No. 3 seed, taking on No. 2 Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday during a semifinal at 4 p.m. at Ice Den Arena in Hooksett, N.H. The Purple Knights seek their sixth NE10 postseason crown while playing the Penmen for the 10th time in the postseason. All tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and children, and $1 for students at NE10 schools with a valid ID.
Saint Michael's ended the regular season 7-15-4, with 11 losses coming by two goals or less, while earning all of its wins in NE10 play, going 7-5-3. Top-seeded Saint Anselm College and No. 4 Assumption College meet in the other semifinal, with the winners playing for the crown on March 2 at the home of the highest remaining seed.
The Purple Knights advanced to the NE10 Championship final each of the past four times they qualified for the postseason, finishing as the runners-up in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17 and 2017-18. Saint Michael's is a postseason qualifier for the 22nd time in 24 years, having gone 19-12 during NE10 tournaments, including pulling a road upset of a higher seed on four occasions. Saint Michael's won NE10 titles in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009.
Saint Michael's has met Southern New Hampshire nine times in postseason play, with the Purple Knights going 5-3-1, including 1-2 on the road. The teams met for the 1999 NCAA Division II Tournament crown, which the Purple and Gold captured by winning the series 1-0-1. The Penmen won this year's regular-season series, 1-0-2, which included one 2-2 draw in each team's building and a 3-1 Southern New Hampshire victory at Cairns Arena. Sophomore defender Sel Narby (Huntington, N.Y./Connecticut Junior Rangers) scored early in the third period to force a tie in the Oct. 30 opener before the Penmen netted a late tying goal in the second draw on Jan. 25 and tallied twice in the final stanza the next day to snap a deadlock during the 3-1 victory.
Senior Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Mass./Dexter School) leads the Purple Knights in points (18), assists (13), faceoff wins (398) and faceoff success (58.6%), while classmate Nic Hermary (Coquitlam, British Columbia/Melfort Mustangs) has a team-high 10 goals, including five power-play markers and three game-winners, to go along with four assists. Sophomores Brandon Mitchell (North Scituate, R.I./Pomfret School) and Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express) turned in five goals apiece with nine and eight assists, respectively. Foster blocked 19 shots and won 249 draws at a 52.2 percent clip while going plus-5, and Mitchell deposited three power-play goals and is plus-2. Narby adds 10 assists, while sophomores Thomas Flack (Toronto, Ontario/Saint Michael's Buzzers) and Zach Sullivan (Weymouth, Mass./Walpole Express) have each scored seven goals - three on the power play - while Sullivan is plus-3.
Junior Tim Decker (Liverpool, N.Y./Canterbury School) has emerged as the Purple Knights' starting goaltender, going 6-6-3 with two shutouts while posting a 2.63 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. In NE10 play alone, Decker led the league in GAA (1.97) and save percentage (.931) and was second in winning percentage (.636), having with a 6-3-2 mark in conference play. Junior defender Hadan Jordan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Boston Bandits) contributes a team-high 31 blocks, and sophomore blue liner Noah Muller (Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Düsseldorfer EG) has blocked 20 shots while dishing off six assists.