Palmer posted 46 saves to keep the Skyhawks in the game. (PHOTO BY Jim Stankiewicz)
D'Antuono leads Purple Knights to championship game with three points
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (February 18, 2017) – Second-seeded and regular season co-champions Saint Michael's College potted two goals in the final five minutes of the third period to hold off third-seeded and defending champions Stonehill College in semifinal round action of the 2017 Northeast-10 Conference ice hockey tournament at Cairns Arena this evening.
Saint Michael's (9-15-2, 4-1-0 NE10) advances to next Saturday's NE10 Championship, where it will host fourth-seeded Assumption College (10-15-2, 5-5-1 NE10) in search of its sixth NE10 title. The Greyhounds advanced by stunning top-seeded and NE10 regular season co-champions Saint Anselm College on the road, 4-3, in today's other semifinal. Stonehill, which swept the NE10 regular season and tournament titles a year ago, finishes its season with a 9-14-4 record overall, including 6-4-1 in the NE10 to make its 12th-staight postseason appearance.
Sophomore Sam D'Antuono (Hingham, Massachusetts/Dexter School) led Saint Michael's with a three-point game with a goal and two assists, including a goal and assist in the final five minute flurry to seal the win. Senior Josh Dickman (Kapaa, Hawaii/Saint Paul's School), junior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, Rhode Island/Boston Bandits) and sophomore Jack Ouellette (Arlington, Massachusetts/Dexter School) also netted goals for the Purple Knights.
Sophomore Chris Johnson (Duxbury, Massachusetts/Pomfret School) preserved the win with 32 saves in the Saint Michael's goal, including 16 in the final period alone. The Purple Knights posted a 50-33 advantage in shots on goal and was 1-for-5 on the power play, adding a shorthanded empty net goal to seal the win with 3:19 remaining, while holding Stonehill scoreless on seven power play chances.
Smith's fourth goal of the year pulled the Skyhawks within a goal midway through the third. (PHOTO BY Jim Stankiewicz)
Sophomore Billy Palmer (Cranston, Rhode Island/Boston Bandits) stood tall in the Stonehill goal with 46 saves, including 16 each in the second and third periods. Freshman Ryan Smith (Arlington, Massachusetts/Tilton School) potted the lone Skyhawks goal midway through the third period, his fourth of the season.
Saint Michael's carried a two goal lead into the final period after collecting single markers in the first and second. Salzillo opened the scoring with a power-play goal 3:33 into the contest when he pounced on a rebound off D'Antuono's initial shot for his tenth goal of the season. Dickman doubled the Purple Knights' lead 13:29 into the second period when he collected his own rebound in the lower right circle and tucked the puck inside the left post with an off-balanced shot for his ninth goal of the year
Stonehill cut the deficit in half 8:52 into the third period when Smith took a pass from classmate Ryan Meade (Tewksbury, Massachusetts/Tilton School), skated around the back of the net and threw the puck out in front of the cage where it bounced off a defender and into the goal. Saint Michael's regained its two goal cushion with 5:10 remaining in the period when Ouellette collected his own rebound and fired a high shot inside the left post for his second goal of the year.
Stonehill had a power play opportunity with just under four minutes remaining in regulation for another chance to close the gap. However, with Palmer pulled for an extra skater, the Skyhawks surrendered a back-breaking shorthanded goal with 3:19 to play as D'Antuono capped the scoring with his ninth goal of the year when he gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone and finished into the empty net.
For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.