Men’s hockey defeat SNHU 3-1 at home to advance to NE10 title game

Dan Flatley, Crier Staff

This weekend, the Saint Anselm College men’s ice hockey team defeated long-term rival Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) at Sullivan Arena on Saturday with a 3-1 victory, advancing the Hawks to the title game of the Northeast-10 (NE10) Conference Championship.

Junior Bryan Green got the Hawks on the board at 13:49 of the first period. Green skated all the way to the goal line, extended on the left in the offensive zone, and once he turned back, scored the goal from a sharp angle.

SNHU outshot Saint Anselm, 14-8, in the opening period but could not find a way past junior Colin Soucy, newly-minted NE10 “Goaltender of the Year.” Soucy won his sixth-straight start with a 28-save effort in net for Saint Anselm to run his record to 8-4-1 on the season.

The Hawks took 16 of the 25 shots on goal in a scoreless second period, but it was the Penmen who nearly tied the game just 1:15 into the frame when Soucy needed to shut down a Kyle Valliere breakaway to keep the Hawks ahead.

Sophomore Mike Ferraro kept it going with another goal just 14 seconds into the third period, putting Saint Anselm in control, 2-0. Following a SNHU turnover behind its own goal, senior captain Pallotta passed the puck in front to Ferraro, who fired it past Ryan Slatky on the backhand for his team-high sixteenth goal of the season.

Midway through the final period, SNHU fought back, with former Saint Anselm student Chris Moquin, the NE10’s joint-leading scorer this season, scoring his twentieth goal of the season at 11:06 to bring the Penmen within a goal. Moquin skated through the left circle and whistled a wrist shot in under the bar to make it a 2-1 game.

But Pallotta secured the win for the Hawks, scoring less than three minutes later to give Saint Anselm their two-goal lead back, which they would hold onto until the finish. After sophomore Jake Grade chipped the puck up ice, NE10 Rookie of the Year Alec Andreucci outskated the Penmen defense and dropped a backhand pass to a trailing Pallotta who had a simple tap-in.

Upon defeating the Penmen, the Hawks advance to their sixteenth NE10 title game after defeating SNHU for the fourth time this season and the third time in the last nine games. Saint Anselm owns a league-high nine NE10 Tournament championships.

“It’s a team game, and I like how our team played. I’m proud of how our guys represented the institution, how they represented themselves, and it was a good game for us,” said Jim Tortorella, the Hawk’s head men’s hockey coach, in an interview with Saint Anselm Athletics.

“You want your best players to play well in these types of games, and I thought guys like [Andreucci] and the play that he made to [Pallotta] to make it [3-1]; [Ferraro] played a lot of ice and [Pallotta] played a lot of ice. Everybody contributed, but I think some of our top players played really well tonight.”

Saint Anselm will hit the ice again on Saturday, March 3 to host second-seeded Saint Michael’s College in a game for the NE10 title with the puck drop at 3:30 p.m.

“The top two teams are in it, right? So, we played them well, I thought, up at [Saint Michael’s College]. Down here, when they beat us 5-2 it wasn’t our best performance. They are a good team; they’ve got two really good goalies; they have some big guys; they’ve got some guys that can score,” said Tortorella. “But we’ve earned home ice, and I’m really proud of our guys. We’ll prepare this week, and see what happens on Saturday.”