WORCESTER, Mass. – Three Crusaders netted their first career goals, including sophomore Brett Lubanski (Farmington Hills, Mich.) with the game-winner with 0:45 left in the contest as the Holy Cross men's hockey team defeated Sacred Heart, 4-3, at the Hart Center on Friday evening to open Atlantic Hockey action. With the victory, the Crusaders advance to 1-5-0 overall (1-0-0 AHA), while the Pioneers fall to 2-4-0 overall (1-2-0 AHA). The win for the Crusaders marked their 11th Atlantic Hockey opener, and their 11th straight opener without a loss, as they are now 10-0-1.
Four minutes into the game, the Crusaders struck first. Sophomore Tim Driscoll (Hingham, Mass.) won the puck in a scrum and knocked the puck to the faceoff circle to linemate sophomore Matt Vidal (Manorville, N.Y.). Vidal pushed the puck on to freshman Logan Smith (Littleton, Colo.) at the blue line who fired a shot. The shot deflected off a Pioneer player and beat goalie Alex Vazzano to score Smith's first career goal. Halfway through the period, Driscoll took the puck again and sent it to senior captain Ryan McGrath (Pittsburgh, Pa.). McGrath took a shot from the blue line that freshman Cameron Lawson (Vancouver, British Columbia) tipped into the net. Lawson's tip marked his first career goal and brought the Crusaders ahead 2-0. The Pioneers' Jordan Minello brought the score within one at 11:06. At 18:31, junior Nilan Nagy (Canonsburg, Pa.) sent the puck to senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.). Schmidt skated up the bench side of the ice and had Vazzano fooled. Schmidt sent the puck over to freshman Mike Barrett (Orland Park, Ill.) who netted a shot from the opposite faceoff circle to make the score 3-1.
The second period brought no success to either team until 17:50. Justin Danforth scored his second point to bring the Pioneers within a goal again. With less than 30 seconds left in the period, Danforth sent the puck to Evan Jasper who skated into the Crusader zone and sent a shot over the stick side shoulder of junior goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) to tie the game 3-3.
The Crusaders and the Pioneers battled in the third period to try to score a goal. With 0:45 remaining in the game freshman Nick Finn (Canton, Mass.) sent the puck to junior Tommy Dwyer (Ridgefield, Conn.). Dwyer then found Lubanski in the faceoff circle, Lubanski sent the puck across the ice and beat Vazzano on the opposite side. Lubanski scored the game-winner and his first career goal earning him a star during the game.
The Crusaders outshot the Pioneers 34-16 during the contest. Ginn posted 13 saves while Vazzano made 30. The Crusaders scored on one of their four power play opportunities while the Pioneers could not score on any of their four attempts.
During the game, three Pioneers netted their first career goals in addition to the three Crusaders to make six of the seven goals in the game first career goals. Also of the seven goals, six were scored by freshmen. Lubanski earned the first star of the game after scoring the game-winner. Sacred Heart's Danforth picked up the second star for his goal and two assists, and Barrett earned the third star for his goal in the first.
The Crusaders return to action on Friday, Nov. 8 when they travel to Tate Rink in West Point, N.Y. to take on Army in Atlantic Hockey Action.
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For the third straight season, every time the Holy Cross men's hockey team scores a power play goal in the Hart Center, money pledged will benefit PINK Revolution. For more information and to donate go here: http://www.powerplaypointsforpink.com/.