Men's Hockey Defeats AIC For Fourth Straight Win, 8-4

Rob Linsmayer

WORCESTER, Mass. – Sophomore Kyle Fletcher (Kanata, Ontario) led the Crusaders with five points, recording two goals and three assists as the Holy Cross men's hockey team blew past American International, 8-4, at the Hart Center on Saturday evening in Atlantic Hockey action during the Crusaders second annual "Pink the Rink" night. Fletcher's five points came the night after fellow teammates, sophomore Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) and sophomore Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) each totaled five points in a game, representing the first time since the 2006-2007 season that a Crusader totaled as many points in a single game. With the win, the Crusaders move to 11-14-3 overall (10-8-3 Atlantic Hockey). Holy Cross is now 4-0-1 in its last five games, and have won four straight while the Yellow Jackets fall to 6-17-1 overall (6-14-1 Atlantic Hockey). The Crusaders' eight goals were the most scored in a single game since their 10-3 win over Mercyhurst on Nov. 11, 2005. The win also represents the Crusaders' longest winning streak since the 2005-2006 season when they won six straight games between March 3-March 24. Holy Cross swept the three-game regular season series between these two teams as the Crusaders won the first two meetings in the series. The Crusaders defeated the Yellow Jackets by a 5-2 score on Feb. 4 and by a 3-2 score on Oct. 15.

AIC struck first, six minutes into the period as Nick Sandor scored off the assist from Nielsson Arcibal and Adam Pleskach. The Yellow Jackets would follow up their first goal with a power play goal from Mike Penny four minutes later at the 9:03 mark. AIC's Christ Markiewicz and Pleskach would be credited with the assist. Seconds later at the 9:18 mark, Holy Cross answered back with a goal from Nunn who put the puck around AIC goalie Ben Meisner. Fletcher assisted on the goal. With six minutes left on the clock Nunn and Fletcher teamed up for the pair's second respective goal and assist on the night. Nunn's power play goal was scored off a rebound from Fletcher's initial shot. Both teams went 1-2 on the power play in the first period, while Holy Cross outshot AIC 15-8.

The Crusaders came out firing in the second period. Junior Jay Silvia (Burlington, Mass.) scored the first goal of the period with the assists coming from Linsmayer and Fletcher.  Although the Yellow Jackets answered back two minutes later at the 6:15 mark with a power play goal from Pleskach, it was all Holy Cross for the rest of the second period. At 15:20 junior Andrew Cox (Lombardy, Ontario) blasted a shot over the shoulder of Meisner. Sophomore Erik Vos (Carlisle, Ontario) was credited with the assist. Minutes later Fletcher scored his first goal of the night, firing the puck past the left hip of Meisner. Linsmayer and senior Everett Sheen (Lethbridge, Alberta) assisted on the goal. Twelve seconds later at 18:18, Fletcher and Linsmayer teamed up again for the goal and assist to put the Crusaders up 6-3 at the end of the wild second period.

There was still plenty left in the tank for the Crusaders as they cruised into the final period of play. At the 12:15 mark junior Matt Gordon (Perth, Ontario) stole the puck from AIC and put it past the left pad of AIC goalie Ryan Kerpan, who relieved Meisner in the third period. AIC would answer back with a power play goal from Penny with two minutes left in the period but Holy Cross wasn't done yet. With less than a minute and a half to play freshman Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) scored the final goal of the game to seal the deal with the assist from sophomore Evan Zych (Kilbride, Ontario).  

Senior goalie Adam Roy (Feeding Hills, Mass.) had another great night in goal recording 26 saves while AIC's Meisner and Kerpan combined for a total 35 saves. The Yellow Jackets went 3-6 on the power play while the Crusaders went 1-5. Holy Cross outshot AIC 43-30.

This concludes an offensively productive weekend for the men's hockey team. Over the course of two nights Fletcher put up three goals and five assists for a total of eight points. Linsmayer also totaled eight points in two nights putting up two goals and six assists, while Nunn scored four goals and three assists for a total of seven points.  

Proceeds from tonight's "Pink the Rink" will go to Pink Revolution, which is an alliance of dedicated individuals with a unified commitment to those touched by breast cancer at UMass Memorial and UMass Medical School here in Worcester. This year, the Crusaders raised money for breast cancer awareness by selling 'Pink the Rink' T-shirts, holding a chuck-a-puck competition during an intermission and running a 50/50 raffle. There was also a ceremonial puck drop before tonight's game which honored Jackie Peterson, Holy Cross' Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students and breast cancer survivor.

The Crusaders return to action on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12 when they play Army at 7:00 p.m., at the Hart Center for two Atlantic Hockey games. Saturday will also be winter homecoming and an MVP trophy will be awarded after the game. The Crusaders defeated the Black Knights by a 5-4 score in overtime earlier this season on Oct. 17 in the first meeting of the three-game regular season series.