Junior Chris Tasiopoulos stopped a career-high 46 shots tonight, including all 15 that came his way in the third period.
Skyhawks earn top seed in upcoming NE-10 Tournament with 5-4 win over Saint Anselm
FOXBORO, Mass. (February 18, 2014) – Junior goaltender Chris Tasiopoulos (Norwell, Mass./Thayer Academy) made a career-high 46 saves and five different players scored as the Stonehill College ice hockey team earned its first Northeast-10 regular season championship in program history tonight with a 5-4 win over Saint Anselm College at the Foxboro Sports Center. Stonehill also extended its winning streak to nine games, which matches the longest run in program history.
Stonehill utilized a balanced offensive effort to improve its record in conference play to a perfect 10-0, with five different players scoring and four others registering assists. Sophomore forward Dan Graham (Billerica, Mass./Williston Northampton) led the Skyhawks with two points on one goal and one assist.
Classmate Richard Harris (Grand Island, N.Y./Valley Jr. Warriors) gave Stonehill a 1-0 lead 8:46 into the opening period after he crashed into the Saint Anselm net, bringing the puck with him over the goal line. Sophomore Willy Baker (Suffern, N.Y./Hill School) then put Stonehill up 2-0 less than a minute later, scoring his fourth goal of the season on an assist from linemate Kevin Airoldi (Kennebunk, Maine/Berwick Academy).
Saint Anselm responded with two goals of its own, first from junior forward Sean Jenkins (Boston, Mass./Boston Bulldogs) at the 14:14 mark, and then the equalizer from classmate Kody Grondin (Hampton, N.H./Tabor Academy) one minute and six seconds later. The score remained tied at two for the remainder of the period, with Saint Anselm out-shooting Stonehill 18-3 in the opening frame.
Sophomore forward Nate Soter (Danvers, Mass./Pingree School) became the third different Skyhawk to find the back of the net just 3:39 into the second period, but Saint Anselm was quick to answer, as Jenkins scored his second of the night at the 5:59 mark to even the score again.
Sophomore Dan Graham scored a goal and added an assist in Stonehill's ninth consecutive win.
Stonehill was able to take control of the contest midway through the second period by converting on two of its power play opportunities. Graham scored with the help of junior forward Kevin Aufiero (Canton, Mass./Walpole Express) after the Hawks were whistled for a hooking infraction, and then sophomore forward Thomas DePoalo gave Stonehill a two-goal cushion when he tallied his sixth score of the season 11:04 into the period.
Senior forward Joe Tebano (Glastonbury, Conn./South Kent) drew Saint Anselm within one goal at the tail end of the second period, but Tasiopoulos stopped all 15 shots that came his way in the third frame to preserve Stonehill's first win over Saint Anselm since March 4th, 2009.
Saint Anselm senior netminder Nick Dries (Commerce Township, Mich./Bay State Breakers), who entered tonight's action ranked second in the NE-10 in save percentage (.925) and goals against average (2.22), was pulled from the game in the second period in favor of classmate Robert Kang (Glen Rock, N.J./Tabor Academy).
Stonehill, the top penalty killing team in the NE-10 this season, again relied on its special teams tonight. The Skyhawks scored on two of their three opportunities with a man advantage, while holding Saint Anselm to just one goal in five power play chances.
Stonehill (15-9-0, 10-0-0 NE-10) will be back in action on Thursday night, as the Skyhawks are set to take on Assumption College in a makeup of the game that was postponed on February 15th. A win over the Greyhounds would give Stonehill ten straight victories, a new program record. Following Thursday's makeup game, Stonehill will host Saint Michael's College on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Foxboro Sports Center in the semifinal round of the 2014 Northeast-10 Championship. Saint Anselm (10-11-4, 4-1-0 NE-10) ends up as the second seed in the NE-10 Championship, and the Hawks will host Southern New Hampshire University in the other semifinal game on Saturday night.