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March 19, 2010 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Dramatic Late Goal Sends Sacred Heart to Final

CHN Staff Report

Patrick Knowlton scored the game winner in the closing minute against Air Force in the semifinals.

Patrick Knowlton scored the game winner in the closing minute against Air Force in the semifinals.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It's been quite the adventure this season for Sacred Heart, so what's one more wild ride?

Sacred Heart coach C.J. Marottolo said before the weekend that the road to a championship would still have to go through Air Force, the three-time defending Atlantic Hockey tournament champions, until someone knocked the Falcons off.

Sacred Heart was that team. Whether it leads to a championship, remains to be seen.

Sacred Heart and RIT will each play for their first Atlantic Hockey title and NCAA bid Saturday, after the Pioneers pulled off a dramatic last-minute win over defending champ Air Force.

After Air Force tied the game with 1:29 left in the third, Sacred Heart’s Patrick Knowlton scored the game-winner with 42 seconds remaining.

“This was a terrific hockey game,” Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. “They blew us out at their place and we blew them out at our place. I fully expected a low scoring slugfest and that is what transpired. There is not much of a margin for error when you only score one goal.

"We died from a disease that has plagued us all season. We didn’t score enough goals. Ironically, our magic run here at the Blue Cross Arena ended very similar to the way it started. Against Sacred Heart (in 2007) we pulled our goalie and scored and then scored in overtime to beat them. I thought we might do it again, but it was not be. I give Sacred Heart a lot of credit. They played the game hard and clean and I wish them good luck in the championship.”

After a tight defensive game by both teams in the first period, it was Sacred Heart that got on the board first in the second period. Eric Delong took a shot that was saved by Andrew Volkening. However, Erik Boisvert was there to clean up the rebound for a 1-0 lead. Early in the period, Air Force had two quality chances on the power play. Tim Kirby took the puck off the wall and skated right to the top of the crease, but his shot was saved by Steven Legatto. Less than 30 seconds later, Jacques Lamoureux’s wrister from the right circle hit the cross bar behind Legatto.

With 1:37 left in the third period, Air Force pulled its goaltender in favor of the extra skater. The Falcons won the ensuing faceoff in the Pioneer end and Scott Mathis fired a slap shot at Legatto, Lamoureux collected the rebound and tied the game with 1:29 remaining in the third. Derrick Burnett also assisted on the play. With less than a minute remaining, Sacred Heart’s Dave Jarman had the puck at the goal line to the left of Volkening. His centering pass was right on the tape of Knowlton who was camped on the weakside post. His 13th of the season gave the Pioneers a 2-1 lead with 42 seconds left. The Falcons again pulled Volkening for the final 42 seconds, but were unable to tie the game.

Sacred Heart outshot Air Force, 34-33, in the game. Each team had three power plays in the game but neither scored. Volkening and Legatto each made 32 saves in the game.

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