When and Where: February 13, 2016 – Hooksett, N.H. (The Ice Den)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 1, Stonehill College 0
Records: SNHU 8-14-4 (4-3-4 Northeast-10), Stonehill 12-9-4 (7-1-2 Northeast-10)
Sophomore Ryan Slatky (Manchester, N.H.) registered a career-high 54 saves and junior Jay Sylvia (Acushnet, Mass.) provided the only offense of the evening, as the Southern New Hampshire University ice hockey team closed out its regular season with a 1-0 win over Stonehill College at the Ice Den on Saturday night.
The victory moves the Penmen into the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference tournament, and sets up a semifinal matchup with Queen City rival Saint Anselm College at the Thomas F. Sullivan Arena on Saturday (Feb. 20) at 4 p.m.
Slatky and his counterpart, William Palmer, held each team in check through the first 26:29, as they turned aside 18 shots apiece before Sylvia was able to collect the game-winner with a powerplay marker. Senior Jim Gabrione (Boca Raton, Fla.) started the play by taking the puck at the left point and sliding a pass to sophomore Kyle Valliere (Goffstown, N.H.) at the top of the right faceoff circle. After Valliere settled the pass, he unloaded a wrist shot that Sylvia was able to redirect over Palmer's glove-side shoulder for his sixth of the year.
The remainder of the contest belonged to Slatky, as he had an answer for each of Stonehill's final 36 shots. After closing out the second with 15 additional saves, he stopped 21 shots in the third to secure his second shutout of the season. The last four shots Slatky steered aside came after the Skyhawks pulled Palmer for an extra attacker with 1:13 to go, three of which were on a Stonehill powerplay in the last 1:07.
The Skyhawks' best opportunity to tie the game came on the man advantage with just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation. Robbie Dorgan took a feed on the right post and one-timed a saucer pass over a stretched out Slatky and onto the stick of Richard Harris at the bottom of the left faceoff circle. Harris briefly had an open net in front of him, but sophomore Matt McLelland (Reading, Mass.) dove in front of his one-timer to keep the game at 1-0.
Slatky's 54 saves eclipsed his previous career-high of 52 saves, which occurred three times this season. Palmer suffered the setback for Stonehill despite stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced.
- Southern New Hampshire honored its five graduating student-athletes on Saturday evening. The Penmen recognized the career achievements of Gabrione, Anthony Laperriere (Winchendon, Mass.), David Letarte (Salem, Mass.), Kevin Lorcher (Rouen, France) and Paul Pirozzo (North Babylon, N.Y.) in a pregame ceremony.
- Saturday marked the first time in three years the Penmen were able to top the Skyhawks during the regular season. Southern New Hampshire was previously 0-7-1 against Stonehill, and had not beaten the Skyhawks since Feb. 10, 2013.
- Southern New Hampshire was successful in killing all seven of Stonehill's powerplay opportunities, while converting on one of its two man advantages.
- The Penmen head into the postseason on a six-game unbeaten streak, which dates back to Jan. 24.
Southern New Hampshire will make the crosstown trip to Saint Anselm College for the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament semifinals on Saturday (Feb. 20) at 4 p.m. The victor will face the winner of No. 1 seeded Stonehill and No. 4 seeded Assumption College, who face-off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, at the highest remaining seed on Feb. 27.
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