STORRS, Conn. — After yesterday’s double dose of overtime and shootout hockey, one might have expected to see more of the same on Day Two of the UConn Hockey Classic.
The fans might not have gotten extra hockey for their money, but they certainly got their fair share of excitement as Bentley’s Carmen Posteraro broke a 2-2 deadlock with less than five minutes to play. The goal gave the Falcons a 3-2 victory over Sacred Heart in the tournament’s third place game.
Following a 1-9-2 start, Bentley is on a three game unbeaten streak (1-0-2) and currently is 2-9-4. Sacred Heart fell to 4-9-2 overall.
“It would have been nice if it was a three-point weekend,” said Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist. “We were able to take a hard-fought tie on the road and come from behind to win against a league opponent.
“We’re excited that the last five games for us are all moving in the right direction. We think we can build on them for the second half.”
Sacred Heart battled back to tie the score at two with less than ten minutes to play, but Posteraro had the final word. The freshman added a game-winner to what had already been a terrific weekend, converting on a front-to-back play with a high backhand. The goal was his second of the game and fourth of the weekend.
“At the end of the first half, our coaching staff had a discussion with Carmen. We really felt that he could be one of the top freshmen in the league and the numbers just weren’t showing it. Hopefully this weekend will be the breakout for him,” said Soderquist.
“Their third goal was a big-time defensive breakdown,” said Sacred Heart coach Shaun Hannah. “We’ve been on the wrong side of a lot of one-goal games because we just can’t seem to stay mentally focused for 60 minutes. It seems as if every breakdown ends up in the back of our net. We need to strive for consistency — that’s what we’re lacking.”
An action-packed second period saw the Falcons fall behind early, but battle back late in the period with an even-strength and powerplay goals. Both teams accumulated 46 penalty minutes, but it was Bentley that was able to take advantage of the frantic pace.
The goal of the night came on the man-advantage for the Falcons. Paul Markarian made a terrific play behind the net to jar the puck loose from a defender and blindly passed to a wide open Ryan Mayhew. Mayhew, in the ultimate show of unselfishness, passed up a great chance and instead dished a perfect feed across the goalmouth to captain Joe Lovell, who took no time in lifting the puck into the back of the net.
Goaltender Jason Smith played well enough to win in net for Sacred Heart, but he just didn’t get the offensive support. The freshman stopped 23 of 26 in a losing effort.
“I thought that Jason was one of the few positives for us tonight,” said Hannah. “For it only being his third career start, he played terrific in net, giving us a chance to win.”
His counterpart, Simon St. Pierre, made 36 saves in earning the win. The junior was better tonight in controlling the rebound and limiting the amount of second shots that he faced.
The teams will face off again to start the second half on January 6th at Sacred Heart in the makeup of a league game postponed from early December.