WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Kyle Fletcher (Kanata, Ontario) posted three goals and one assist as the Holy Cross men's hockey team flew past Canisius, 7-3, on Sunday night at the Hart Center in the third and final game of a best two-out-of-three Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series. With the win the third-seeded Crusaders improve to 17-15-5 overall, while the eighth-seeded Golden Griffins end the season at 13-19-6. With the win the Crusaders will advance to the Atlantic Hockey Tournament semifinals where they will play second seeded Air Force at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., on Friday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. The first semifinal will be between top seeded RIT and the six seed UConn at 4:00 p.m. The championship game will be on Saturday, March 19. This is the first time since the 2005-2006 season that the Crusaders have advanced past the quarterfinals. In 2006 the Crusaders won their second Atlantic Hockey Tournament championship.
Holy Cross is now 8-1 all-time at the Hart Center in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.
The first 18 minutes of the period were relatively quiet for both teams but with just over a minute to play in the period freshman Jeffrey Reppucci (Newburyport, Mass.) fired a shot to the top left corner of the net to put the Crusaders up 1-0. Sophomore Erik Vos (Carlisle, Ontario) and Fletcher assisted on the goal. Less than a minute later, with 31 seconds to play, senior Everett Sheen (Lethbridge, Ontario) slipped the puck past the right pad of Canisius goalie Dan Morrison to give the Crusaders the 2-0 edge. Freshmen Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) and Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) were credited with the assist. Holy Cross outshot the Griffins 16-6.
Halfway through the second period the Golden Griffins' Vincent Scarsella found the back of the net for a power play goal to narrow the score to 2-1. For the second period in a row the Crusaders waited till the end to find the back of the net. With less than two minutes to go Fletcher skated through several Canisius defenders to score off the assist from sophomores Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) and Brendan Baker (Edina, Minn.) widening the Crusaders' lead to 3-1. Both teams took seven shots in the second. The Crusaders went 0-1 on the power play with Canisius going 1-2.
The Crusaders put the pedal down in the third, but not before an offensive flurry from the Griffins. Just over a minute into the third period Canisius' Scott Jenks struck, bringing the score to 3-2. Four minutes later the Golden Griffins struck again with a goal from Cory Conacher, knotting the score at 3-3. But then the Crusaders picked up the pace responding with two goals of their own, the first coming at the 9:52 mark as Stockton took the puck down the length of the ice to score putting the Crusaders up 4-3 for his second game winning goal of the season. Twenty seconds later Fletcher blasted a shot in from the left side of the ice with the help of Baker. The Crusaders continued to be effective in the last few minutes of play scoring two empty net goals. The first coming from the stick of Schmidt with the assist coming from Sheen and junior Matthew Davis (Lancaster, N.Y.). The second, a power play goal, came from Fletcher, representing his third goal and fourth point of the night. Clune and junior Mike Daly (South Burlington, Vt.) were credited with the assist bringing the final score to 7-3.
Senior goalie Adam Roy (Feeding Hills, Mass.) made 20 saves in the win while Morrison made 26 for Canisius. The Crusaders outshot the Griffins 33-23 while Holy Cross went 1-2 on the power play with Canisius going 1-4.