MILFORD, Conn. – Led by two goals from senior Ben Lake (Calgary, Alberta) and 26 saves from Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.), the Sacred Heart men's hockey team wrapped up the regular season with a 4-1 victory over the Bentley Falcons Thursday night at Milford Ice Pavilion.
Sacred Heart (11-17-6, 10-12-6 AHC) scored on its first shot of the game. Lake crashed the net with 18:13 left in the first to put a Kory Kennedy (Midhurst, Ont.) pass past Bentley goaltender Jayson Argue. Brian Sheehan (St. Louis, Mo.) almost made the score 2-0 with 9:07 to play in the first, but his breakaway shot was stopped by Argue. The Pioneers killed two penalties in the opening period as Vazzano made six saves to give Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
Bentley (16-12-5, 14-8-5 AHC) had two power plays in the first five minutes of the second period, but were held to three shots on goal and scoreless. Freshman Alec Butcher (Anchorage, Alaska) put the Pioneers ahead 2-0 with 8:31 remaining in the period. Vazzano started a rush by getting the puck to Mitch Nylen (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who then got the puck to Butcher across the blueline. Butcher's initial shot was stopped by Bentley's Jayson Argue, but Butcher followed up by putting the rebound in the net. Max French nearly put the Falcons on the scoreboard with 5:02 remaining in the second, causing a turnover at the Sacred Heart blueline but his shot went right into Vazzano's glove.
Steve Weinstein eventually put Bentley on the board, scoring with 13:26 to play in the game. With the Pioneers just getting back to even strength after killing a penalty, Weinstein fired a Brett Switzer pass from the blueline past Vazzano to make the score 2-1. Evan Jasper (Whitby, Ont.) extended the Sacred Heart lead to 3-1 with 9:13 remaining, going end-to-end for a shorthanded goal. Lake tacked on an empty net goal in the final minute for the 4-1 win.
Kennedy and Jordan Minello (Sweaburg, Ont.) each had two assists for Sacred Heart. Each team had 27 shots on goal. Bentley was 0-for-9 on the power play, while Sacred Heart was scoreless on the man advantage five times.
The Pioneers will host a first-round Atlantic Hockey Tournament series next weekend, March 6-8, against Army at Milford Ice Pavilion. Game time for each game is 7:05 p.m. The two teams split their only series of the season at Tate Rink Oct. 10 and 12.