HC Forces A Game Three With A 3-2 Win Over Mercyhurst

Joe McNamara

WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior assistant captain Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) tallied an assist for his 100th career point and freshman Joe McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) netted the game winner as the No. 3 seeded Holy Cross men's hockey team rallied to defeat No. 6 seeded Mercyhurst, 3-2, at the Hart Center on Saturday night in Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinal action. With the win, the Crusaders advance to 20-13-3 overall, while the Lakers fall to 17-16-5 overall. The teams meet again at the Hart Center on Sunday, March 17 at 5:00 p.m. for the third and final game of the series. With the win tonight, the Crusaders tie the series 1-1 and both teams are now one win away from the Atlantic Hockey Semifinal game in Rochester, N.Y. on Friday, March 22, 2013.

To give the Lakers an early lead, Mercyhurst's Chris Bodo netted an even strength goal 14:39 into the first period. Neither team received a penalty in the first period. The Crusaders outshot the Lakers 5-4.

Junior Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) sent the puck up the ice to Linsmayer on a power play during the middle of the second period. Linsmayer fed the puck across the goal mouth to senior Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) who finished the play with a goal at 12:43 in the second period to tie the game 1-1. The goal marked Nunn's 16th of the season, a career high for the senior forward and Linsmayer's 100th career point, making him the 40th player in program history to reach this milestone. Mercyhurst answered at 14:30 with a power play goal by Grant Blakey to pull ahead 2-1 over the Crusaders. Holy Cross doubled the shots taken by Mercyhurst with 22 against the Lakers' 11. Mercyhurst went 1-2 on the power play and the Crusaders went 1-3.

Holy Cross came out fighting in the third period scoring two goals in a three minute span to solidify a win. The first goal came after sophomore goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) cleared the puck to McNamara. McNamara sent the puck to Stockton who weaved through three defenders, circled the back of the net, and locked in the wrap around goal 6:06 into the third. McNamara struck again, this time with a goal, 9:08 into the third. Freshman Karl Beckman (Okemos, Mich.) and Stockton each tallied an assist as McNamara fired the puck from the blue line hitting the cross bar and falling behind Lakers' goalie Max Strang. McNamara recorded his first career goal and netted the game winner.  Despite outshooting the Crusaders 18-11 in the third period, and pulling Strang with 1:14 left in the game, the Lakers could not come back from the one goal deficit. The Crusaders went 1-1 on the power play, while the Lakers did not have any opportunities.

With the win tonight, the Crusaders earned their 20th victory of the season, marking the first time in program history the team has recorded two consecutive 20 win seasons. It is the seventh 20 or more win season for the program, but before tonight no two seasons occurred back to back. Ginn takes the win, advancing his record to 19-12-3. The win tonight also moves Ginn to tying for second in single season wins with 19. He trails Tony Quesada, who holds the record of 22 in 2005-2006, by three wins. The game tonight also marked the 149th game played by Linsmayer, tying him for the record for most career games played with Everett Sheen, Class of 2011. Ginn tallied an assist on the night and 31 saves. Strang took the loss and fell to 12-10-3 while making 35 saves. The Crusaders outshot the Lakers 38-33 during the game. Both teams went .500 on the power play, the Crusaders 2-4 and the Lakers 1-2.