Jan. 29, 2011
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's hockey team (7-9-1, 5-7-1 ECAC East) turned things around after Friday's tough loss with a hard-fought 4-1 win over UMass Boston at Cairns Arena on Saturday, snapping a four-game winless streak while toppling the Eastern College Athletic Conference East's third-place Beacons.
For Saint Michael's, senior Nick Sheehan (Potsdam, N.Y./Cornwall Colts) scored twice, and senior Alex Higgins (Phoenix, Ariz./Kent School) and sophomore Morgan Bell (Revelstoke, B.C./Saint Alberts Saints) put the game away with a goal apiece.
For UMass Boston, senior Vinnie Jacona (East Stroudsburg, Pa./Boston Bulldogs) prevented a scoreless weekend for the Beacons and tallied his team's only goal in the 13th minute of the third period.
The Purple Knights jumped out to an early lead by way of a goal by senior Nick Sheehan (Potsdam, N.Y./Cornwall Colts) midway through the first period. Senior Matt Rigtrup (Montclair, N.J./Pickering Panthers) let rip with a shot from between the circles that was knocked down before it reached the net, but Sheehan was there to slip the rebound past the Beacons' senior goalie Thomas Speer (Wausau, Wis./Univ. of Wisconsin - Stevens Point). Saint Michael's held a slim 13-10 shot lead after one period, but had a clear possession advantage throughout the first 20 minutes of play.
The Beacons could not take advantage of three second-period power plays, including over a minute of 5-on-3 hockey. The Purple Knights played relentless defense and the trio of Rigtrup, Bell and senior goalie Brendan Rimmer (Newbury, Mass./Pingree School) turned aside 14 shots in the second frame. Defense quickly morphed into offense as Bell notched a goal for Saint Michael's on the third rebound chance off a shot by Rigtrup from atop the right circle. Sheehan then claimed his second goal of the night off a rebound after junior Reave MacKinnon (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Winnipeg Saints) streaked behind the net and planted a wrap-around shot off the side of the net, allowing the senior captain to swoop in and put the Purple Knights up 3-0 entering the final period.
Higgins stretched the Saint Michael's lead to four with a wrist shot from the left side on assists from Justin Castagna (Los Altimos, Calif./Los Angeles Kings (AAA)) and Alex Davidson (South Burlington, Vt./St. Paul's School), giving the Purple Knights their first four-goal game since their previous win against Saint Anselm on Jan. 14.
Rimmer, who anchored Saint Michael's the entire game and made 29 saves, just missed the shutout and surrendered a goal to Jacona with just over six minutes to play. For UMass Boston, Speer stopped 41 saves in the loss.
The Purple Knights play their first Northeast-10 Conference Contest since knocking off defending NE-10 Champions Saint Anselm earlier this month when they host Southern New Hampshire on Tuesday at 7 p.m. UMass Boston returns to action on Friday when they host Saint Anselm College at 7 p.m.
*Release content courtesy of Saint Michael's Sports Information Dept.