November 8, 2013

Pilgrims Knock Off #8/12 Men's Hockey 2-1 In Home Opener

BOSTON, Mass.—Sebastien Andersson stole the show from #8/12 UMass Boston Men's Hockey in their home opener, as the junior goalie made 45 stops to lead New England College (2-0, 1-0 ECAC East) to a 2-1 upset win over UMass Boston (1-1, 0-1 ECAC East) Friday night at the Clark Athletic Center.

The junior from Sundyberg, Sweden tied his career-high with 45 stops by posting 13 saves or more in all three periods, including a game-high 19 saves in the final stanza.

Kyle Manlow and James O'Reilly each scored for the Pilgrims who snapped a three-game losing streak at the hands of the Beacons.

Jeremy Finger (Orlando, Fla.) scored the lone Beacons goal of the contest on a power-play, with Kit Sitterley (Mooresville, N.C.) and Dan Cornell (Abington, Mass.) each picking up assists.

Neither side could get anything going on the power-play, as Andersson and UMass Boston's Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.) both served as the backbone of their team's penalty-killing units. Andersson and the Pilgrims held UMass Boston to a 1-for-7 showing, while Andrews made seven stops on the power-play and 31 for the game, to hold New England College to a 1-for-6 night on the man-advantage. 

UMass Boston outshot the Pilgrims 46-33 for the game but got bogged down due to the numerous penalties in the contest. The two sides were whistled for 17 combined penalties including 10 in a sloppy second period.

O'Reilly gave the Pilgrims an early 1-0 lead at 12:34 of the first period after a nifty play from Garrett Brazier. Brazzier took a pass from captain Samuli Turunen and blazed down the left boards only to make a pinpoint pass right onto the stick of a charging O'Reilly who proceeded to lift the puck over Andrews shoulder into the top left corner of the net.

The Pilgrims added to their advantage in the second stanza, with their lone power-play goal of the game. Just over a minute after the Beacons were whistled for their first of eight penalties on the night, Ben Maclaughlin fed Kyle Manlow on the left side of the cage and Manlow roofed a shot over Andrews' shoulder to make it 2-0 New England College.

UMass Boston answered six minutes later, when Finger scored his first goal of the season. With the Beacons power-play unit out on the ice, Cornell took a blast from the blue line that was knocked down, only to have Sitterley send a shot off a defenseman. With the puck loose out in front and Andersson out of position, Finger slid the puck into the open net for his ninth career goal.

The Beacons would continue to rack up the chances with 26 additional shots in the final 32 minutes, but they couldn't solve Andersson. 

UMass Boston's best chance of the game came with under four minutes remaining. Cornell came up with a loose puck in the neutral zone, took it across the blue line and poked it over to senior Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.) who skated in one-on-one on Andersson. Daniel's initial look was kicked wide, but Nathan Milam (Westland, Mich.) had a chance to poke the rebound home, only to send it just wide of the far post.

The Beacons skated with an extra man for the final 98 seconds of the contest and even earned a 6-on-4 advantage for the final 14 seconds, but Andersson proved up to the task. 

New England College will return to action Saturday when they travel to take on #11 Babson College at 4 p.m. UMass Boston will host St. Anselm College at 4:30 p.m.