Men's Hockey Plays To 3-3 Draw With Air Force

Shayne Stockton

WORCESTER, Mass. – Air Force's Alex Halloran posted two goals, including the game-tying goal, as the Holy Cross men's hockey team tied Air Force 3-3 after a six-goal game and five minutes of goalless overtime Saturday night at the Hart Center in Atlantic Hockey action. With the tie, the Crusaders are now 4-9-2 overall (3-4-2 AHA) while the Falcons are now 7-5-4 overall (4-2-3 AHA).

The Crusaders took the lead 7:22 into the game with a power play goal by senior assistant captain Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.). Freshman Logan Smith (Littleton, Colo.) took a shot to start the Holy Cross offense. Senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) redirected the rebound to the stick of sophomore Brett Lubanski (Farmington Hills, Mich.). Lubanski took a shot that again caused a rebound enabling Stockton to net the goal on the third shot of the play. On a power play opportunity for the Falcons, the team caught junior goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) behind the net and stole the puck. The Falcons' Chad Demers attempted a shot before Ginn could get back to the front of the net, but Ginn dove to make the save. The Falcons outshot the Crusaders 11-9 during the period, but only the Crusaders could score.

The second period brought no goals to either team.  Despite two power play chances, the Crusaders could not score. The Crusaders outshot the Falcons 12-9 during the period to take a 21-20 lead in shots.  

The third period brought five goals to the two teams. Sophomore Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.) sent the puck to junior Tommy Dwyer (Ridgefield, Conn.). Dwyer sent the puck to an open Lubanski who fired the puck blocker side past Jason Torf to give the Crusaders a 2-0 lead at 1:20. The Falcons struck back at 12:11 into the third to bring the game within a goal. As a Crusader penalty expired, Cole Gunner jumped into the air to keep the puck in play and hand passed to himself. The Falcons caught the Crusaders on the change and tied the game on a shot by Halloran that bounced high and into the net.

At 13:58, freshman Mike Barrett (Orland Park, Ill.) won a faceoff sending the puck back to sophomore Ben Kaplan (Burlington, Vt.). Kaplan found a lone sophomore Matt Vidal (Manorville, N.Y.) in the middle who sniped a shot past Torf to take the lead, 3-2. The Falcons gave the Crusaders a power play opportunity, but less than 30 seconds later the Crusaders responded with a tripping call into the neutral zone. The Falcons pulled their goalie to start the 4-on-4 with a 5-on-4 advantage and an empty net. While the Falcons had an extra attacker, sophomore Jake Bolton (Ellington, Conn.) sent the puck up the ice to clear it from the defensive zone. Bolton's shot from the middle of the Crusader zone flew up the near side, but hit the post and deflected out. At 18:39, Halloran tied the game for the Falcons, scoring his second of the night and the final goal of the game. Halloran's goal occurred with three seconds remaining in the power play on a 6-on-4 chance. This sent the game into overtime where neither team would score, ending the game in a tie.

The Crusaders outshot the Falcons 36-32 during the game. Ginn posted 29 saves while Torf made 33. The Crusader defense came out with a strong showing, blocking 38 shots compared to the 13 by the Falcon defense. The Crusaders blocked a total of 65 shots during the weekend against Air Force. Bolton led the charge with 15 of those blocks, eight during the contest, followed by Smith with seven total and six during the night. Coming into the weekend the Crusaders were averaging 16.46 blocked shots per game, and after the weekend they now average 18.8 blocked shots per game. The Falcons attempted 84 total shots during the game while the Crusaders only attempted 57. The Crusaders' power play converted one of their five opportunities while the Falcons scored on two of their four chances. Gustin's assist on Lubanski's goal was the first of his career. Lubanski's goal and assist earned him the second star of the game. Vidal's goal during the contest earned him the third star of the match.

The Crusaders return to action when they travel to Fenway Park in Boston to take on Atlantic Hockey opponent Bentley for the opening game of Citi Frozen Fenway on Dec. 28. Tickets are on sale now via www.redsox.com/frozenfenway or by calling the Red Sox Ticket Office at 877-733-7699. Tickets range from $10 to $50. The Atlantic Hockey contest is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.

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. The Crusaders have now scored three power play goals at home. They will be hosting their fifth annual Pink the Rink game on Feb. 15 when they host Connecticut for a 7:00 p.m. game. This game will also be the Crusaders' winter homecoming contest. For more information and to donate go here: http://www.powerplaypointsforpink.com/.

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