WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior forward Andrew Cox (Lombardy, Ontario) broke a 2-2 tie with a third period power play goal, as the Holy Cross men's hockey team defeated Air Force, 4-3, on Saturday evening at the Hart Center in Atlantic Hockey action. With the win, the Crusaders improve to 9-9-1 overall (7-4-1 Atlantic Hockey), while the Falcons fall to 10-6-3 overall (8-3-2 Atlantic Hockey). The Crusaders win the two-game regular season series versus the Falcons, who entered the matchup in first place in the Atlantic Hockey standings, as these two teams tied on Friday night by a 3-3 score. Air Force is now in second place with 18 points and Holy Cross is tied for fifth with 15 points. This is the first time the Crusaders have won a season series versus the Falcons since Air Force joined the league in 2006-2007.
The Crusaders got on the board first, at 4:47 of the first period when junior forward Erik Vos (Carlisle, Ontario) received a crossing pass from senior forward Matt Gordon (Perth, Ontario), as Vos was able to move to his right and find the lower half of the net placing the puck past Air Force senior goalie Stephen Caple. This marks the seventh time this season Vos was able to find the back of the net. Freshman forward Mike McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) also recorded an assist, earning his first collegiate assist. The Falcons were able to answer quickly and tie the game at 1-1 when senior defenseman Tim Kirby blasted a slap shot just inside his blue line at the 7:55 mark. The Crusaders found themselves on a 5-3 man-advantage and were able to capitalize at 16:19 when senior defenseman Matt Clune (Toronto, Ontario) nailed a one-timer that found the top right of the net, when senior defenseman Mike Daly (South Burlington, Vt.) gave him a leading pass cross ice. The Crusaders took a one goal lead, 2-1 into the first intermission. Freshman goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) made three saves in the period and Caple made nine for Air Force.
At the 13:03 mark of the second period the Falcons were able to tie the game, 2-2. Air Force sophomore forward George Michalke III was able to deflect a shot, from Cole Gunner right in front of the crease past Ginn. The Crusaders got a good scoring opportunity as the second period was coming to a close, but Caple stood his ground. The Crusaders outshot the Falcons by a 10-9 margin.
Early in the third period the Crusaders found themselves trying to kill a 5-3 power play, and were able to do so. At the 8:57 mark the Crusaders were able to take the lead in the game, 3-2, when they took advantage of an elbowing penalty at 7:57. Cox scored the power play goal, when he received a pass from senior defenseman Kyle Atkins (Brockville, Ontario), and was able to place a wrist-shot over Caple's shoulder. The Crusaders went ahead by two goals, their largest lead in the game when senior forward Jay Silvia (Burlington, Mass.) scored an empty-net goal at the 18:22 mark, increasing the lead to 4-2. The Falcons cut into the Holy Cross lead by one, when Jason Fabian scored with 21.6 seconds remaining in the game. The Holy Cross Crusaders held on to win, 4-3.
The Crusaders went 2-6 on the man-advantage as the Falcons went 0-5. Ginn recorded 18 saves and improves to 7-6-1 on the season, while Caple posted 23 saves and is now 10-4-3. Holy Cross outshot Air Force, 27-21.
The Crusaders return to action on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 13-14, in Pittsburgh, Pa., when they meet Atlantic Hockey opponent Robert Morris at Clearview Arena at 7:00 p.m.