WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross men's hockey team downed Canisius 6-3 on Friday night at the Hart Center in the first game of a best two-out-of-three Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series. With the win, the third-seeded Crusaders improve to 16-14-5 overall, while the eighth-seeded Golden Griffins drop to 12-18-6. The second game of this series will be on Saturday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m. If a game three is necessary, it will be on Sunday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. The winner of this series will advance to the Atlantic Hockey Tournament semifinals which will be held at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., on Friday March 18. The championship game will be on Saturday, March 19.
Holy Cross is now 7-0 all-time at the Hart Center in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.
With the win the Crusaders extend their unbeaten streak to 12 games as they are now 9-0-3 in their last 12 contests. This is the longest streak in school history and is also currently tied for the longest in the nation as Union is 11-0-1 over its last 12 contests. During the last 12 games the Crusaders have outscored their opponents by a 53-26 margin.
In the first period, each team showed a very physical defense right from the start. Canisius' Kyle Gibbons snapped a wrister from just past the blue line past Holy Cross senior goalie Adam Roy (Feeding Hills, Mass.) to make it a 1-0 game at the 11:10 mark.
The second period featured three total goals. At the :58 mark, sophomore Kyle Fletcher (Kanata, Ontario) found the back of the net for his 13th goal of the season, assisted by freshman Jeffrey Reppucci (Newburyport, Mass.) and sophomore Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) to tie the score at one a piece. Shortly after at the 3:28 mark, junior defenseman Matt Clune (Toronto, Ontario) netted his sixth goal of the season off of assists from junior Jay Silvia (Burlington, Mass.) and sophomore Erik Vos (Carlisle, Ontario) to put the Crusaders ahead 2-1. But, at the 6:12 mark, Canisius struck back, with Chris Forsman scoring a goal to tie the game at two a piece.
With a big game one win on the line, both teams entered the third period hungry. The Crusaders got the early advantage, with freshman Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) scoring his fifth goal of the season off of assists from Reppucci and junior Mike Daly (South Burlington, Vt.). Holy Cross built on its 3-2 lead, adding a power-play goal by Nunn at the 14:23 mark, making it a 4-2 lead. Canisius came right back at the 15:46 mark with a goal from Vincent Scarsella. Freshman Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) snapped a goal right off of the faceoff at the 19:02 mark to make the score 5-3. Sophomore Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) scored an empty net goal at the 19:32 mark, to give the Crusaders the final 6-3 advantage.
Roy made 22 saves to improve to 10-6-3 on the season, while Dan Morrison made 24 saves and fell to 9-15-4. The Crusaders went 1-3 on the power play and Canisius went 0-4. Holy Cross outshot Canisius by a 30-25 margin.