FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Freshman Bear Trapp scored the game-winning goal and added an assist, and the Pioneers scored three second-period goals on their way to a 4-1 win over Mercyhurst Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
With the win the Pioneers improve to 15-9-1 overall and 12-6-1 in Atlantic Hockey, drawing to within three points of Mercyhurst for first place. The Lakers fell to 15-9-0 overall and 14-5-0 in the conference.
Senior Rocco Molinaro put the Pioneers up early, scoring his eighth goal of the season 5:12 into the first period. After Lakers goaltender Tyler Small stopped an initial shot by defenseman Bernie Chmiel, Molinaro was in front of the net to pop home the rebound and give Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead.
Mercyhurst tied the game on a 5-on-3 power play at the 6:10 mark of the second period. Junior Kyle Gourgon took a pass from sophomore Matt Warren and blasted a shot past Pioneer goaltender Jason Smith. It was Gourgon’s 10th goal of the year.
The Pioneers regained the lead 9:41 into the middle period when Trapp netted his 12th goal of the year. With Sacred Heart on the power play, Trapp set up in the slot, took a pass from sophomore Alexandre Parent, and flipped a shot past Small.
Senior Chris Connerty put the Pioneers up, 3-1, with 5:46 left in the middle period. Junior Peter Ferraro fed a pass from the right side of the Mercyhurst net through the crease and Connerty was on the receiving end to poke it home. Senior Erik Roos also had an assist on Connerty’s fifth goal of the season.
The Pioneers built a 4-1 lead at the end of the second period when freshman Eric Giosa scored with 1:43 remaining. Trapp started a rush up ice with an outlet pass to defenseman Kalen Wright. Wright sent Giosa over the Laker blue line where he pulled up and fired a shot under the right arm of Small for his fourth goal of the year.
Both teams played extremely physical the entire game and both sides had several power-play opportunities. The Lakers finished 1-for-8 with the man advantage while the Pioneers scored two goals in their eight chances with the extra skater.
Sacred Heart controlled much of the play offensively, out shooting Mercyhurst, 42-26. Small made 38 saves in goal for the Lakers while Smith stopped 25 shots to seal the victory for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers and Lakers will meet again Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Game time is set for 7:00 pm.