WORCESTER, Mass. – In the first of back-to-back games for the Holy Cross men's hockey team against Atlantic Hockey front runner Air Force, the Crusaders came out with a 3-3 tie on Friday night at the Hart Center, as freshman forward Mike McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) tied the game in the third period with his first collegiate goal. The Crusaders move to 8-9-1 overall (6-4-1 Atlantic Hockey), while the Falcons end the night at 10-5-3 overall (8-2-2 Atlantic Hockey). These two teams will conclude their two-game regular season series on Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Hart Center at 7:00 p.m.
The Crusaders got out to an early lead scoring two goals in the first five minutes of the game. While on a two-man advantage power play, Holy Cross junior forward Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) netted his sixth goal of the season at the 2:34 mark. It didn't take long for the Crusaders to double their advantage when senior forward Luke Miller (Andover, Mass.) buried the puck in the back of the net over sprawling Air Force goaltender Stephen Caple at 4:53 for his second goal on the year. The Falcons answered with an even strength goal at 13:19 on a shot by senior defenseman Tim Kirby, and the Crusaders had the lead after one, 2-1.
Air Force junior forward Kyle De Laurell led the way for the visitors in the second period, scoring his 12th and 13th goals of the season. De Laurell's first goal came at the 3:23 mark when he fired a shot past Crusader freshman goaltender Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) to tie the game at 2-2. The Falcons then took the lead at 10:20 when De Laurell avoided a Crusader defender just above the left circle, spun around, and fired the puck just past Ginn's left pad. Air Force squandered two opportunities to extend their lead at the 15:30 mark when Ginn made an outstanding left pad save on streaking Cole Gunner. Just seconds later, George Michalke III ripped a shot from between the circles just over Ginn's right shoulder and bouncing off the crossbar. The Crusaders kept the pressure on, maintaining possession late in the period and outshooting the Falcons 13-11.
The Crusaders quickly rallied to tie the game in the third period when McNamara recorded his first collegiate point on a goal at the 1:39 mark. McNamara tipped in a slap shot from senior defenseman Matthew Davis (Lancaster, N.Y.). Senior forward Matt Gordon (Perth, Ontario) also recorded an assist. The final period of regulation had two potential go ahead goals waved off by the officials for kicking the puck in the net. Air Force's scoring opportunity came at 6:36 while the Crusaders' chance came at 12:52. With under two minutes remaining, sophomore forward Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) and senior forward Jay Silvia (Burlington, Mass.) both attempted to prevent the trip to overtime with clean shots at the net, but Caple held his ground.
In the first overtime period of the 2011-2012 campaign for Holy Cross, the Crusaders dominated the offensive end, outshooting the Falcons 7-2. McNamara attempted to score his second collegiate goal at the 1:52 mark with a wrist shot from the slot off a faceoff win, but Caple made the save off his left shoulder.
The offense was spread out for the Crusaders as nine players recorded points in the game. Crusader goalie Ginn recorded 22 saves, including two in overtime, to move his record to 6-6-1 as a starter. Caple posted 32 saves and is now 10-3-3 on the season. The Crusaders went 1-3 on the power play and the Falcons went 1-4. Holy Cross outshot Air Force 35-25 overall.