WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) scored two goals as the Holy Cross men's hockey team defeated No. 15 Niagara, 5-3, at the Hart Center on Friday night in Atlantic Hockey action. With the win, the Crusaders improve to 12-7-2 overall (8-4-2 AHA), while the Purple Eagles fall to 13-4-4 overall (12-1-1 AHA). This is the Crusaders' second win against a nationally ranked team this season, with the first being a 5-4 victory versus No. 15 Yale on Dec. 30. This is the fourth win for Holy Cross over a ranked team in its Division I era as the Crusaders also defeated No. 3 Minnesota, 4-3, on March 24, 2006 in the NCAA Tournament, and No. 7 Boston University, 5-4, on Oct. 22, 2011. This is also Niagara's first conference loss during the season. The Crusaders' 12-7-2 record is their best after the first 21 games since the 2005-2006 season when they were 14-6-1. These two teams will conclude its two-game regular season series on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Hart Center at 7:00 p.m.
At 9:20 of the first period, freshman Ben Kaplan (Burlington, Vt.) scored his first collegiate goal, bouncing the puck into the net off the tip of the goalie's glove. The goal was assisted by freshman Matt Vidal (Manorville, N.Y.) and freshman Jake Bolton (Ellington, Conn.). Moments later, the Crusaders struck again, scoring a power play goal by Bolton, also his first collegiate goal. The goal was assisted by junior Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) and junior Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y).
Niagara opened up the second period with a goal by defenseman Kevin Albers and put the Purple Eagles on the board. The Crusaders struck again with a goal scored by sophomore Jake Youso (International Falls, Minn.). Senior Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) and sophomore Nilan Nagy (Canonsburg, Pa.) posted assists. After the Crusaders increased the lead by two, Niagara answered, bringing the lead within one with a power play goal scored by Ryan Murphy, which was assisted by Marc Zanette. With 1:48 left in the second period, Nunn scored the Crusaders' fourth goal, which was assisted by Linsmayer and senior Kyle Fletcher (Kanata, Ontario). Following that goal, Niagara pulled out its starting goalie, Carsen Chubak, and replaced him with Cody Campbell.
Nunn scored his second goal of the game at 6:20 of the third period, which was assisted by Fletcher and Linsmayer. The assists were Linsmayer's third of the game and Fletcher's second. Linsmayer now has 62 career assists which are tied for 10th on the school's all-time Division I assists list. Niagara responded with four minutes left to play when Patrick Divjak netted a goal making the score 5-3. The goal was assisted by Chris Lochner and Ryan Rashid. Niagara went with an empty net with 2:11 left in the third period, but were unable to find the back of the net again for the 5-3 final.
Crusader sophomore goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) allowed three goals on the night and had 38 saves to improve 11-6-2 on the season. Chubak allowed four goals and had 11 saves before being replaced by Campbell, who allowed one goal and had 13 saves. Niagara outshot Holy Cross, 41-29, while the Crusaders went 1-4 on the power play and the Purple Eagles went 0-3.
The Crusaders have now netted 15 power play goals at home this season. For every home power play goal scored the Crusaders raise money for Pink Revolution through Power Play Points for Pink. For more information and to donate go here: http://www.powerplaypointsforpink.com/. The Crusaders' annual Pink the Rink game will be on February 16 versus UConn at 7:00 p.m.