Men's Hockey Ends Season With 3-1 Loss To Mercyhurst In AHA Quarterfinals

Matt Clune

ERIE, Pa. ­– Matthew Zay scored two goals for the Lakers as the Holy Cross men's hockey team fell to Mercyhurst, 3-1, in the third and deciding game of a best two-out-of-three Atlantic Hockey Tournament quarterfinal round series on Sunday night at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. With the loss, the No. 5 seeded Crusaders conclude the season 20-15-4 overall, while the No. 4 seeded Lakers improve to 20-15-4 overall and will move on to the semifinals of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y on Friday, March 16. The Lakers won the first game of the series by a 2-1 score on Friday and the Crusaders won 3-1 on Saturday. The Crusaders went 1-3-1 versus the Lakers this season. The Crusaders posted their sixth 20-win season in program history.

The Lakers took an early 1-0 lead at 2:31 of the first period when Paul Chiasson knocked in a rebound off a shot by Daniel O'Donoghue for a power play goal. At 9:57, the Crusaders tied the game at 1-1 when senior Matt Clune (Toronto, Ontario) scored a power play goal off a slap shot from the blue line. The goal was his fourth of the season. Senior Andrew Cox (Lombardy, Ontario) and sophomore Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) posted assists. The Crusaders went 1-2 on the power play and the Lakers went 1-3. The Crusaders outshot the Lakers, 15-4.

At 4:36 of the second period, HC went on a five-minute major power play, but at 6:21 the Crusaders were called for a two-minute penalty and then were unable to score during the remaining 1:15 of the power play. At 13:27, the Lakers took a 2-1 lead when O'Donoghue sent a pass from behind the net to an open Zay in front of the goal, as he then fired a one-timer to the upper right corner of the net. The Crusaders went on a two-man-advantage power play for 49 seconds at 17:04 but were unable to find the back of the net. The Crusaders went 0-4 on the man-advantage for the period. Holy Cross outshot Mercyhurst by a 17-13 margin.

The Lakers increased their lead to 3-1 at 1:21 of the third period, when Zay scored on a rebound for his second goal of the contest. With the Crusaders still trailing by two goals, they went with an empty-net with 1:24 left but were unable to find the back of the net for the 3-1 final.

Freshman goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) made 24 saves and concludes the season 17-8-2 as his 17 wins tied for the second most in a Division I season at the school. Max Strang tallied 41 saves for the Lakers and improves to 16-13-3. The Crusaders went 1-7 on the power play and the Lakers went 1-4. Holy Cross outshot Mercyhurst, 42-27.