November 27, 2011

University of New England Edges Men's Hockey in Shootout in PAL Cup Championship

Box Score

HOOKSET, New Hampshire – It was another long night for men's hockey as they looked to bring home their fourth P.A.L. Stovepipe College Hockey title.  Unfortunately, the University of New England (2-4-1) would steal the championship from the Beacons (2-4-2) in a shootout, following a 3-3 tie in regulation and the five minute overtime period, Sunday afternoon at Ice Den Arena.

Setting-up what would be their second shootout in less than 24 hours, would be a late second period rally by UMass Boston to tie the score at 3-3.  After a scoreless third and overtime period the two teams prepared for the shootout to determine this year's champion.

New England would jump out to an early 1-0 lead after the first round of shots.  Neither team would convert in the second round, but it was in the third that New England jumped out to a 2-0 lead.  A miss in the fourth round by UMass Boston would secure the victory for New England.

On the day, UMass Boston held a 32-27 advantage in shots, and was also solid on the power-play as they were 2-for-6.  New England was 1-for-7 on the man-up opportunities, with their lone power-play goal coming in the second period.

Finding the back of the net for the Beacons was Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.) and Andrew Burke (Southampton, Pa.).  Burke netted both goals in the second, while Daniel broke the scoreless draw at 15:39 in the first period on the power-play.

Freshman netminder Alex Scola (Exeter, N.H.) has handed the tie after coming up with 24 saves. His record now stands 2-1-2 on the year, since making his first collegiate start earlier this month.  New England goalie Craig Ryan combined for 29 saves to improve his record to 0-1-1.

Following Daniel's then go-ahead goal in the first period, New England tied the contest at 1-1 less than three minutes later.  After the break, New England scored their next two goals in the first 10 minutes of the period to jump out to a 3-1 lead.  With less than four minutes left in the second frame, Burke would spark the Beacons rally with his second goal of the year, which was scored at 16:47 on the power-play.  Moments later he tied the game at 3-3 after redirecting a pass from senior Anthony Fitti (Havertown, Pa.).

Looking to keep the game from going into overtime, the third period turned into a shooting spree as the two squads combined for 25 shots respectively.  With neither team able to get the puck over the goal line, the two teams prepared for overtime.  UMass Boston would claim the only shot in the five minute overtime.

For their standout play Tim Niedzielak (Chicago, Ill.) and Burke were named to the All-Tournament team, along with Brendan Brickley, Zeth Zielinski, and Shayne Toohey from New England, as well as Bryan Kaczynski from Worcester State University.  Zielinski was also named the tournament MVP.

Men's hockey will continue their long road trip next Friday when they travel to the University of Southern Maine for a 7 p.m. ECAC East conference game.