The Keene State College men’s club hockey team took on the University of Vermont (UVM) Catamounts on Saturday, Feb. 11 in what was the Owls’ final home game of the 2016-2017 season. KSC won the senior night tilt by a score of 6-1 thanks to a two-goal game from Andrew Pierce and a solid performance from sophomore goaltender Carlin Testa.
Just over two minutes into the game, UVM scored on their first shot of the game, beating Testa on the power play. That would be the only blemish on the scoresheet for Testa, who made 30 saves in the game. Andrew Pierce and Matt Girard scored back-to-back goals on a four-minute power play to give the Owls a quick lead, one from which the team would never look back. Several more power play opportunities created an eventful first period, but the score would remain 2-1 entering the first intermission.
The second period was filled with end-to-end action from the start, but the first goal didn’t come until over halfway through, when first-year Chris Bertone put home a rebound to give KSC a two-goal lead. A shot from the right faceoff dot was stopped by UVM’s goaltender, but the rebound fell right to Bertone’s stick, who made no mistake, making the score 3-1.
Testa’s stellar play continued throughout the duration of the second period, including a glove-save that the Catamounts initially celebrated as a goal before realizing that Testa had snagged the puck out of the air before it entered the net. The Owls entered the second intermission up by a pair of goals.
Andrew Pierce got his second goal of the game just over five minutes into the third period, when he beat Vermont’s goaltender high and short-side on an odd man rush, putting the Owls up 4-1. Pierce’s second goal of the game opened the floodgates, as Kyle Carignan soon thereafter put a shot past the glove of Vermont’s goaltender, making it 5-1, KSC. Keene’s fifth goal forced UVM to pull their goalie, replacing him with their backup.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, defenseman Lucas Poulin let a slapshot go that found it’s way through traffic and into the back of the net, scoring the last goal of the game and securing the win for Keene State.
Head Coach Bobby Rodrigue said he was certainly happy with the way the team played in the third period, and that they stepped up their effort from the first two periods.
“In the third period, we started moving the puck and I think the results showed on the scoreboard,” Rodrigue said.
Rodrigue also said that the festivities celebrating the seniors before the game may have caused a bit of a distraction, but he praised the play of Testa, as well as Poulin and defenseman Nick DeCristoforo and reiterated that the entire team regained their focus as the game went on.
Senior Captain Kurt Mitchell said before the game, he reminded the team that it was the last game at Keene ICE for the seniors and it was important to get the win.
“Last time, we took these guys [UVM] into overtime and we weren’t too happy with it, so we wanted to come out and make an impact,” Mitchell said.
Both Mitchell and Pierce said how good it felt to win their final game at their home rink.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to go out,” Pierce said.
Mitchell added, “It’s better to go out a winner than a loser.”
Crae Messer can be contacted at email@example.com