HOOKSETT, N.H. – Joseph Mortillaro found the back of the net with 13 seconds remaining in regulation to snap a two-all tie and propel the Suffolk men's hockey team past SNHU, 3-2, in the championship game of the 2017 Manchester PAL/Stovepipe Tournament Sunday afternoon.
SCORE: Suffolk 3, SNHU 2
RECORS: Suffolk (5-4-0) | SNHU (3-3-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After SNHU was whistled for a hand pass with 16 seconds left in the third, the Rams won the ensuing faceoff back to Jack Kelly at the top of the left circle. Kelly's initial bid was stopped, but the rebound bounced out to Mortillaro at the hash mark and he punched it home to notch what proved to be the game winner.
The two teams battled to a scoreless first period before they each scored twice in the second. Tommy Bishop netted a powerplay marker just over two minutes into the frame as he took a feed from Gavin O'Neill and buried a one-timer in the slot to make it 1-0. Suffolk doubled its lead 1:52 later when Brian Brooks walked off the rightwing wall to the top corner with 16:05 left in the period.
The Penmen would finally break through midway through the stanza on senior Chris Moquin's second strike in as many days. Freshman Griffin Connor cycled the puck along the leftwing boards down to Brett Strawn beneath the goal line. As Strawn was being flushed behind the net he dropped a pass for Moquin and he cut in front of the net and tucked home his fifth of the year at 9:10.
Southern New Hampshire drew even just over five minutes later when Strawn found the back of the net with help from senior Timothy Baylis. Sophomore Jared Goudreau collected the puck at the offensive blue line before carrying it to the top of the right circle and leaving it for Baylis. Baylis fired a pass through the slot to Strawn, who was driving to the far post, and he slotted it just inside the pipe to knot things up at two with 4:26 left before intermission.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KEEPERS
- Michael Levine registered 28 saves for his fourth consecutive win.
- Ryan Slatky stopped 29 shots in the setback.
- Bishop, Brooks and Mortillaro accounted for Suffolk's three goals.
- O'Neill, Connor Parent, Connor Henry, Joe Vingi and Kelly each recorded one handout.
- Suffolk outshot SNHU, 32-30, including a 13-11 advantage over the final 20 minutes.
- Both squads netted one powerplay goal with Suffolk going 1-for-3 on the man advantage and SNHU converting 1-for-4 man-up opportunities.
- After making a career-high 48 stops in Saturday's 3-2 win over UMass Dartmouth, Levine was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 Manchester PAL/Stovepipe Tournament with 76 saves on 78 shots (.974 save percentage).
- Suffolk extended its unbeaten streak to four straight. The last time the Rams won four straight was Nov. 12-19, 2015.
- Mortillaro and Brooks kept their point streaks alive. Mortillaro moved his to three straight games with five goals over the stretch, while Brooks pushed his to five consecutive contests with the streak featuring seven points on four strikes and three helpers.
- Suffolk and SNHU have met every year since 2001. With the win, the Rams trimmed the Penmen's all-time series lead to 8-10-3.
Suffolk is back in CCC action this weekend as it prepares for a home-and-home series with the University of New England. The Rams will visit the Nor'Easters Friday, Dec. 1 for a 7 p.m. game before hosting UNE Saturday, Dec. 2 in Charlestown at 7:30 p.m.