The Sacred Heart University men’s ice hockey team returned to campus with a 3-2 upset win over #12 Boston University on Friday, Oct. 15. This was the Pioneers first victory of the season after dropping their first two games on the road.
“BU (Boston University) is a very explosive offensive team, they have a lot of top National Hockey League (NHL) draft picks. For us, we harped on the details of our game, defensively we had to be really good,” said Head Coach C.J. Marottolo. “We talked about playing aggressive but not playing high-risk. That’s what we did all weekend, I give our guys a lot of credit. They believed in the game plan and executed it.”
Despite going up against a non-conference team, the Pioneers stuck to their gameplan like it was another day on the ice.
“Our structure stays the same. We might tweak a few things here and there, but we have a system and structure in place that our guys need to rely on.” said Marottolo. “We don’t change exactly how we play.”
Entering the third period after intermission, the Pioneers found themselves trailing by a goal.
“We just had this idea, even with other teams, when you’re down you just don’t quit,” said senior forward Austin Magera. “We just kept playing to our ability and it worked out.”
Sacred Heart remained focused and followed the lead of their coaching staff.
“We talked to each other and knew it was a game we could win. We thought we were playing really well and thought we deserved the lead,” said senior forward Austin Steele. “We stuck to it and executed. Things worked out for us.”
After 12:59 of play in the final period, the Georgia native notched the game-tying goal. This was Magera’s second straight multi-point game.
“Austin has been a great player for us, so when he got that goal for us it provided us with a lot of momentum and carried it through for the rest of the period,” said Steele. “There was no quit in us and came out with the win.”
Magera mentioned that there was a lot of energy coming from the boys and that they just wanted to get back to the game.
The game remained tied with just 13 seconds remaining in the period until Steele ripped a shot to give the Pioneers a 3-2 lead and bring them to an upset victory.
“It was big, right after that I almost felt like I blacked out. I was so excited,” said Steele. “It was great, all the boys were just so fired up. That was huge for us to get our first win.”
The Pioneers feel as if this team victory is just a stepping stone in what they hope to accomplish this season.
“There is a lot to be proud of, there is a lot to build off of. We build off the good,” said Marottolo. “We deserved that win, it was a great feeling to get our first win of the year especially against a Top-20 team in the country.”
Just like their gameplan, Sacred Heart isn’t changing their ultimate goal to accomplish throughout the duration of the season.
“The goal for us is to win an Atlantic Hockey Championship and go to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament,” said Steele. “That’s not going to change throughout the year, that’s going to be the goal. It starts with next weekend, we just have to keep getting better every week.”
The Pioneers host the Purple Eagles of Niagara University in their home opener on Friday, Oct. 29 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.