HOOKSETT, N.H. - A goal by Nicholas Sheehan with 7:43 remaining in regulation broke a 2-2 tie and lifted No. 5 seed Saint Michael's College to a 4-2 win over second-seeded Southern New Hampshire University in the semifinals of the 2009 Northeast-10 Ice Hockey Championship at The Ice Den Wednesday night. The Purple Knights will host sixth-seeded Stonehill, a 7-4 upset winner over top seed Saint Anselm, on Saturday for the NE-10 title. SMC is 10-15-2 overall, while the Penmen see their season come to a close at 9-13-2.
Ryan Mero led Saint Michael's with a goal and two assists, while Brady Earle had a goal and an assist and Chris Healey two assists for the Purple Knights. Doug Boulanger (Beauport, Quebec) and Bob Bryant (Nashua, NH) had the Southern New Hampshire goals.
Saint Michael's took a 2-0 lead after one period. Matt Rigtrup got the Purple Knights on the board with a power play tally at the 7:09 mark of the first period when he fired a shot from the right point just inside the blue line. Mero would make it 2-0 at 13:44 with his 14th goal of the season.
Southern New Hampshire scored twice in a 56-second span early in the second period. Boulanger got the Penmen on the board at the 4:06 mark when he went in alone on Saint Michael's goalie Tyler Bilton and scored. At 5:02, Bryant knocked in a centering pass from NE-10 Player of the Year Troy Maybury (South Portland, ME).
Sheehan scored at the 12:17 mark of the third frame when he went in alone on SNHU goalie Todd Rowley (Billerica, MA) and registered an unassisted tally. The Penmen would pull Rowley with 1:14 left, and Earle would add an empty-netter with nine seconds to play.
Bilton turned aside 37 shots to earn the victory for the Purple Knights as the Penmen outshot their guests 39-29. Rowley and Shane Brooks (Kennebunk, ME) platooned in goal for Southern New Hampshire, combining for 26 saves. Rowley allowed two goals and made 15 saves while picking up the loss. The Purple Knights were 1-4 on the power play while SNHU went 0-3 with the man advantage.