Men's Hockey Drops Game, 1-0, To First Place Mercyhurst

Brett Lubanski

WORCESTER, Mass. – Mercyhurst's Jimmy Sarjeant recorded a 51-save shutout as Mercyhurst defeated Holy Cross, 1-0, on Friday night at the Hart Center in Atlantic Hockey action. With the loss, the Crusaders fall to 4-14-2 overall (3-8-2 AHA), while the first-place Lakers advance to 12-9-2 overall (10-1-1 AHA). These teams will conclude their two game series at the Hart Center tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 11, with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.

During the first period the Crusaders came out hot playing hard-hitting hockey and forcing Sarjeant to make 23 saves. The Crusaders kept the Lakers to five shots in the first period and kept them without a shot on net for almost the first seven full minutes of play. More than halfway through the first period, the Crusaders' sophomore Tim Driscoll (Hingham, Mass.) took the puck from a Laker in his own zone and sent it off the boards to freshman Brett McKinnon (Kelowna, British Columbia) who took the puck up into the Lakers' zone. McKinnon sent a shot in, forcing Sarjeant to make the save. Soon after, the Crusaders took another chance when senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) dangled the puck out of the neutral zone into the offensive zone, but his run was cut short by a Mercyhurst defender who knocked him from his feet before he could take the shot. Toward the end of the period, Mercyhurst's Zac Frischmon took the puck in the Crusader defensive zone and tried to make it to the opposite side of the ice to get to the stick side of junior goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario). Before Frischmon could get the puck off his stick he was met by sophomore defenseman Jake Bolton (Ellington, Conn.). Bolton maintained his position between Frischmon and the net and kept the game scoreless. 

Roughly 12 minutes into the second period the Crusaders got their best chance of the game when Schmidt skated the puck up and threw a shot in from the center of the faceoff circle on Sarjeant's glove side. The puck flew in and knicked the crossbar before sailing out on the far side. With 6:13 remaining in the second period McKinnon got another chance taking a shot from the faceoff circle on the glove side of Sarjeant, but Sarjeant managed to swing his arm full circle and catch the lefty's shot. With less than seven minutes remaining in the period, Mercyhurst's Chris Bodo took the puck from the top of the slot and threw it in toward Ginn. Ginn made a pad save launching the puck into the air and falling behind the net to a stickless sophomore Ben Kaplan (Burlington, Vt.). Kaplan gloved the puck down and threw it toward the boards to stop the play before Mercyhurst could gain possession. With time running low in the period, Mercyhurst's Daniel O'Donoghue intercepted a cross-ice pass intended for Schmidt at center ice. O'Donoghue skated down toward the stick side circle of Ginn and Ginn skated out slightly anticipating the shot. However, despite O'Donoghue's efforts, Schmidt beat him inside the boards and stole the puck sending it up ice into the Crusader offensive zone. The Lakers outshot the Crusaders 14-10 in the second, but the scoreboard remained empty. 

At 2:01 into the third period, the Lakers made their way onto the scoreboard. Kyle Just caught a pass behind the net from Philippe Drouin at the blue line. Just sent the puck to Kyle Cook at the front of the net who tossed the puck at Ginn. Ginn made the save between his pads, but the puck continued rolling and made its way across the goal line. Mercyhurst attempted to take a 2-0 lead when Cook won a faceoff and sent it to Just. Just took the puck in to the glove side of Ginn and took an open shot on Ginn. Ginn slid to make the initial stop, but allowed a rebound that floated just behind the net back to Just. Just tried to throw the puck over the glove of Ginn inside the post, but Ginn made the save and stopped the chance. The Lakers gave the Crusaders a chance for an extra attacker when with 1:45 on the clock an interference call sent one of their players to the box. The Crusaders pulled Ginn for a two-man advantage and managed to take five shots, three on net. Sophomore Castan Sommer (Shrewsbury, Mass.) led the charge sending four shots toward the net, with two reaching the goal. Senior assistant captain Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) also registered a shot on net during the opportunity, but none of the shots crossed the line. The Lakers kept their 1-0 lead and won the game.

Sarjeant earned the first star of the game for his 51-save shutout performance, while Ginn made 25 saves earning him the third star. Prior to tonight, the Lakers were scoring a league-high 3.64 goals per game, but the Crusaders limited them to one during the night. The Crusaders took a season-high 51 shots during the game, almost double their average of 26.7 per game before tonight. The Crusaders dominated in the faceoff circle winning 42 while only losing 18. Sophomore Brett Lubanski (Farmington Hills, Mich.) led the Crusader centermen going 13-2 during the night, advancing his faceoff percentage on the season to .599. Freshman Mike Barrett (Orland Park, Ill.) won 11 of his 14 faceoffs, taking his faceoff win count to a team-high 207. Every Crusader who took a faceoff during the night won at least one, and maintained above a .500 faceoff percentage, as Stockton went 12-9 during the night, junior Jake Youso (International Falls, Minn.) went 5-4 and sophomore Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.) won his only faceoff of the evening. Neither team scored on either of their two power play opportunities. The appearance marked Ginn's 42nd consecutive game in net, the 22nd longest streak for an NCAA Division I goaltender. 

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 scored four 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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