MILFORD, Conn. — For the Pioneers it was a case of better late than never this weekend against Army. Sacred Heart came into the series playing solid hockey, but did not have a single win to show for its efforts. After notching their first victory Friday, the Pioneers carried momentum into Saturday’s matchup with the Black Knights for a dominant 5-1 win.
“Our guys had really been putting in a lot of effort and until this weekend we didn’t have much to show for it,” said SHU coach Shaun Hannah. “Other than one game [at Providence], we have contended in every single game this year. When you look at our schedule, four points this weekend were very important because things are only going to get more difficult with everyone else winning.”
Speaking of timely, the duo of Peter Giatrelis and Mike Reagan, which was thrown together just before this weekend series, was instrumental in the win for the second consecutive night. The two blew a relatively even game wide open late in the first period, scoring two goals in 20 seconds with less than 5 minutes to play in the period.
Reagan’s tally marked his fourth of the weekend, adding to Friday’s hat trick and nearly matching the five-goal output of his junior season. He added an assist on linemate Giatrelis’ goal for his team-leading seventh point of the year.
“Coach put us together this weekend for the first time and things are really working out,” Reagan said. “Although we are forcused on defense first, we’ve got the depth and experience up front to be an offensive force. Luckily I was able to put some pucks in the net this weekend, but it was certainly a team effort. We’re happier about four points this weekend,” said Reagan.
“Reagan has been terrific for us this weekend. He was able to put the puck in the net, but his play on both sides of the ice really impressed me,” said Hannah.
The late flurry proved to be enough for Sacred Heart (2-6-0, 2-3-0 AHA) as it rode the late goals to a 4-0 lead after two periods. Pierre-Luc O’Brien and Peter Ferraro added a goal each for the Pioneers. O’Brien’s tally on a nifty feed from Giatrelis at 16:40 marked just the fifth power-play goal in 57 attempts on the early season.
“Right now defense is our concern,” said Hannah. “We’ve been concentrating from the backstop out and the power play needs some work, but that will come in time.”
After the onslaught, Army goaltender Treye Kettiwick was replaced by Bill Moss for the final frame. The pair combined to stop 23 shots on the night with Kettiwick taking the loss.
“Our goalie [Kettiwick] is probably sitting thinking that it’s the end of the world that he got pulled, but in reality we were really looking to get our other goaltender [Moss] some live work,” said Army coach Rob Riley. “It certainly was not his fault tonight; Sacred Heart is a tough team and they played strong all weekend long, especially their great goaltender.”
On the other end of the ice, Kevin LaPointe, who has been outstanding of late, continued his strong play in net. The junior had a shutout bid snapped with a minute left to play, allowing the lone power-play goal on Army’s 11th opportunity on the man advantage. He finished the night with 22 stops on 23 shots, bringing his weekend total to an impressive 50 saves on 52 shots against the Black Knights.
“I can’t say enough about the way LaPointe played for us all season long, especially this weekend,” said Hannah. “It’s a credit to him that we’ve been in so many close games and have had the opportunity to win games even if it hasn’t turned out that way. For us it starts in net.”
Wallingford, Conn. native Chris Migliaro scored the lone goal for Army (3-4-1, 2-3-1) in his homecoming.
Both teams will continue their league schedules with Sacred Heart hosting Bentley while Army travels to Quinnipiac.