WORCESTER, Mass. – Sophomore Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) recorded his first career hat-trick as the Holy Cross men's hockey team defeated Bentley, 6-4, in the regular season finale for both teams on Saturday evening at the Hart Center in Atlantic Hockey action. With the win, the Crusaders improve to 17-13-4 overall (15-8-4 Atlantic Hockey), while the Falcons fall to 13-13-8 overall (13-7-7 Atlantic Hockey). The Crusaders are now 7-0-1 in their last eight games as they have outscored their opponents by a 37-13 margin over the last eight contests. Their eight game unbeaten streak is tied for the fifth longest in school history and the Crusaders' 15-8-4 (.630) Atlantic Hockey record is their best since going 19-7-2 (.714) in 2005-2006. Holy Cross won the season series against Bentley, going 1-0-2, as the two teams tied, 6-6, on Jan. 24, and 2-2 on Feb. 24 in their two previous decisions, with both games played in Watertown, Mass.
As the regular season has come to a close, Holy Cross tied for third with Mercyhurst and RIT in the Atlantic Hockey standings, but will be the fifth seed in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament due to Mercyhurst winning the season series against the Crusaders going 1-0-1 and RIT winning 2-0-0. The Crusaders will square off against the number 12 seed Army in a two-out-of-three series at the Hart Center on March 2-4.
After many shots were thwarted for both teams in the first 10:42, Bentley struck first, netting the first goal of the game at the 10:43 mark. The Crusaders answered shortly later at the 17:11 mark on a rebound goal from senior Gianni Baldassari (Fort Wayne, Ind.), evening the score at 1-1, where it remained tied for the end of the first period.
The second period featured four goals by the Crusaders. Holy Cross broke the 1-1 tie 57 seconds into the second period on a score by senior Andrew Cox (Lombardy, Ontario) to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead. Shortly after, Schmidt began his goal-scoring exhibition, when he snuck a wrister by Bentley goalie Branden Komm to make the game 3-1 in favor of Holy Cross. After Bentley answered back with a goal of its own, Holy Cross was able to yet again make it a two-goal game when Schmidt capitalized on a two-on-one opportunity to get one past Komm and increase the Crusader lead to 4-2. The Crusaders tacked on another goal with an impressive wrap-around goal by Schmidt at the 16:07 mark, which gave him his first career hat trick in style, scoring all three goals in the second period. The Crusaders were able to hang on to this 5-2 lead for the rest of the period.
The Crusaders kept up the offensive intensity to begin the third period, extending their lead to 6-2 on a wrister by junior Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) at the 3:06 mark. Bentley answered back with two goals of their own to make the score 6-4 and applied pressure, but Holy Cross was able to hold onto its lead for the rest of the game.
Freshman goalkeeper Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) made 25 saves in the win and is now 14-6-2. Ginn made a save on a penalty shot by Brett Gensler with just 34 seconds left in the third period. Komm posted 27 saves in 48:56 played and is now 13-11-7. The Crusaders went 1-4 on the power play and the Falcons went 1-3. Holy Cross outshot Bentley 35-29.
The nine seniors of Kyle Atkins (Brockville, Ontario), Baldassari, Matt Clune (Toronto, Ontario), Cox, captain Mike Daly (South Burlington, Vt.), Matthew Davis (Lancaster, N.Y.), Matt Gordon (Perth, Ontario), Luke Miller (Andover, Mass.) and Jay Silvia (Burlington, Mass.) were honored before the game. The senior class has been a part of 59 wins, including 17 this season and the 17 last season which are the most for the team since the 2005-2006 season. This group has also been involved in two of the longest unbeaten streaks in program history. The Crusaders' 12-game streak last season set a new school record and the nine-game streak in the 2008-2009 season is tied for third. They are currently on an eight-game streak, which is tied for fifth.
Baldassari has played 96 career games. As a junior he scored two goals versus Northeastern including the game-winner in overtime as he was named the AT&T Crusader of the Week for his performance. This season Baldassari has played in all 34 games and has a career-best six goals and seven points. As a freshman he was named to the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.
Clune has played in 135 career games which are tied for the most by any current Crusader. This season, Clune has posted a career-best 15 assists and 17 points. For his career he has 12 goals and 38 assists for 50 points. He is a two-time member of the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.
Cox has played in 128 career games as his 28 goals and 64 career points are the second most by any current Crusader. He also has 36 career assists. Last season he won the Holy Cross Winter Homecoming MVP. This season Cox has played in all 34 games. This season he he is second on the team with a career-best 29 points, while he is third with a career-best 13 goals and is third with a career-best 16 assists. He was also named the AT&T Crusader of the Week this season. He is a three-time member of the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.
Davis has played in 120 career games. This season he netted his first collegiate goal and the Crusaders first of the season in the game at Quinnipiac. This season he has two goals and four assists for six points. For his career, Davis has two goals and 14 assists for 16 points. He is a two-time member of the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.
Gordon has played in 94 career games. As a junior he posted a career-best five goals and 14 points. This season he has two goals and 11 assists for 13 points. For his career, Gordon has 10 goals and 28 assists for 38 points.
Miller has played 119 career games, including all 34 this season. This season he has a career-best 14 assists and 17 points. As a freshman he was named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week. For his career, Miller has 19 goals and 30 assists for 49 points. He is a two-time member of the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.
Silvia has played in 135 career games which are tied for the most by any current Crusader. His 34 career goals and 10 game-winning goals are the most by any current member of the team. He also has 28 assists for 62 career points. Over his career he has been named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week, the AHA Rookie of the Week, the AT&T Crusader of the Week and won the team's Seventh Player award. This season, Silvia has played in all 34 games with seven goals and nine assists for 16 points. As a junior he was named to the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.
Daly has played in 132 career games. He has been a strong leader for the Crusaders. Daly won the 2011 Joe Tomasello Unsung Hero Award given by the New England Hockey Writers. Last year, he earned the team's Glenn "Spike" Crane Memorial Award for the second straight season which is given to the player who excels most in the little things and leads his teammates by example. As a sophomore he was named to the Ledyard National Bank Classic All-Tournament team and earned AT&T Crusader of the Week accolades. He received the Michael P. Quinn Award given to the best defenseman on the team over the course of the season in 2009-2010. This season he has one goal and 17 assists for 18 points. Daly has nine goals and 47 assists for 56 career points. He earned first team 2010-2011 Capital One Academic All-District I at-large honors and is a three-time member of the Atlantic Hockey All-Academic team.