BRIDGEPORT, Conn.- The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team defeated #17 Quinnipiac to claim the first ever CT Ice Tournament Championship by a final score 4-1. The Pioneers will return to action on Friday, Jan. 31 when SHU returns to Atlantic Hockey action at Air Force. Puck-drop is set for 7:05 p.m.
"This win and championship will be at the top of the greatest accomplishments of my career." Head Coach CJ Marottolo on the teams victory.
Marottolo added, "I thought in the second and third period we found our way a little bit. Our speed caught up in the second and third and that's our game and with that we were able to hang in and pull off the win. I couldn't be prouder of their effort tonight."
"Just from where this program was and where it is now, it's unbelievable the growth," Senior forward and CT Ice MVP Jason Cotton stated. "Not only the guys in the locker room, but the senior classes before us. And before them, they came in and they left a jersey in a better place than where it was. And for us, when we walk through those doors, that's what we think about."
Cotton added "Overall, I think going home tonight and just thinking about it -- it's going to be a lifetime memory."
- For the first nine minutes of the period the Pioneers and Bobcats were held scoreless as neither side was able to find the back of the net.
- Then at the 8:03 mark into the period, Quinnipiac struck first with a goal from Karlis Cukste off a pair of assists by William Fallstrom and Nick Jermain to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead.
- SHU was restricted on offense as the Pioneers were outshot 11-5 in the period.
- The Pioneers did have two power-play opportunities in the period but fell short of tying up the score before the end of the period.
- The Pioneers dominated the second period as they outshot the Bobcats 10-5.
- SHU racked up three unanswered goals in the period first coming off the stick of sophomore Ryan Steele just 5:19 into the period off a pair of assists by junior Jordan Kaplan and junior Marcus Joseph to even the score up at 1-1.
- Then after a defensive push by both sides for seven minutes the Pioneers offensive attack came through as sophomore Todd Goehring rocketed his second goal of the year at 12:33 into the period off a duo of assists by junior Evan Wisocky and sophomore Nick Boyagian to give the Pioneers a 2-1 lead.
- But the scoring didn't stop there as senior Jason Cotton wanted a piece of the action as he cashed in his 17th goal of the year off assists by junior Matt Tugnutt and first-year Patrick Dawson to give SHU a commanding 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
- Both sides were held to limited shots on goal as the Pioneers fired off five shots on goal while Quinnipiac was held to seven.
- Neither side scored for a whole 18 minutes of the period as the Pioneers fought off three power-play opportunties in the period which prevented the Bobcats from scoring in the entire period.
- The nail in the coffin to the Bobcats came at 19:09 in the period as first-year Braeden Tuck found the empty net off a pair of assists by Matt Tugnutt and Jason Cotton to seal the 4-1 victory for the Pioneers and to claim their first ever championship as they became the first ever CT Ice Champs.
- This is the first time in program history the Pioneers they have won a championship in collegiate men's ice hockey.
- Senior Cotton Jason Cotton was named MVP of the entire CT Ice Tournament as he tallied a goal and assist in the win.
- Junior Matt Tugnutt tallied two assists for two points.
- Sophomore goalie Josh Benson tallied 22 saves on 23 shots faced in the game to claim his 16th win of the season.
- SHU improves to 16-8-2 while Quinnipiac falls to 17-9-1 on the year.