WORCESTER, Mass. - With 4:36 left in the third period and the game tied at 3-3, Nick Johnson score the game-winner as the Holy Cross men's hockey team fell to Sacred Heart, 5-3, in Atlantic Hockey action at the Hart Center on Saturday evening. With the loss, the Crusaders fall to 10-17-5 overall (9-13-4 Atlantic Hockey), while the Pioneers improve to 18-10-4 (16-7-3 Atlantic Hockey) as they have won five straight and are now 15-1-2 in their last 18 games. Sacred Heart wins the four-game regular season series between these two teams, 3-1-0.
The Crusaders will conclude the regular season when they play a key home-and-home series with Bentley on Feb. 26-27 at 7:00 p.m. Friday's game will be Senior Day at the Hart Center, while Saturday's contest will be at the John A. Ryan Arena in Watertown, Mass. The Crusaders just recently swept a home-and-home series with Bentley on Feb. 12-13.
Holy Cross is now tied with Bentley for seventh place in the Atlantic Hockey standings with 22 points with just two games to go and is just one point behind Army who is in sixth place with 23 points. The first six teams in the standings automatically earn a spot in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament quarterfinals, while seventh through 10th place play in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament first round on March 6, to earn a position in the quarterfinals. Army holds the tie-breaker over the Crusaders as the two teams split the two-game regular season series but Army outscored Holy Cross by a 7-6 margin which is the second tie-breaker. The Black Knights take on AIC next week in a home-and-home series. As of now the Crusaders hold the tie-break over Bentley as Holy Cross has a 2-0-0 record versus the Falcons.
The Pioneers took a 1-0 lead at 6:38 of the first period when Dave Jarman fired a slap shot to the upper left corner of the net while on the power play. For the period, each team had 10 shots, while Sacred Heart went 1-1 on the power play.
The Crusaders tied the game at 1-1 at 12:31 of the second period when sophomore Matt Clune (Toronto, Ontario) scored a power play goal off assists by sophomore Mike Daly (South Burlington, Vt.) and junior Jordan Cyr (Winnipeg, Manitoba). The goal was Clune's second of the season. Just 17 seconds later, the Pioneers regained the lead with a goal by Nick Johnson. With just 1:10 remaining in the period, junior Everett Sheen (Lethbridge, Alberta) blasted a shot past Pioneer goalie Steven Legatto for his ninth goal of the season. Sheen received the puck from a faceoff won by sophomore Matt Gordon (Perth, Ontario). The Crusaders outshot the Pioneers by a 15-9 margin, while Holy Cross went 1-2 on the man-advantage and Sacred Heart 0-3.
At 8:47 of the third period, Sacred Heart took a 3-2 lead with a power play goal by Paul Ferraro. Just 1:08 later, the Crusaders scored a goal on a delayed penalty to tie the game at 3-3 when junior Matt Celin (Gibsonia, Pa.) netted his first goal of the season. Senior Ryan Driscoll (Dorchester, Mass.) and Cyr had assists. Johnson's second goal and game-winner came off a crossing pass from Jarman as he then sent the puck to the lower left side of the net at 15:24. With just 35 seconds left, Erik Boisvert added an empty-net goal for the 5-3 final score.
Holy Cross freshman goalie Thomas Tysowsky (Amherst, N.Y.) stopped 31 shots and is now 10-15-5, while Legatto made 32 saves to improve to 16-7-3. Sacred Heart outshot Holy Cross, 36-35, while the Crusaders went 1-5 on the power play and the Pioneers went 2-5.