Men's Hockey Defeats Niagara, 4-2

Sean Gustin

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – Sophomore Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.) scored his first collegiate game-winner and junior goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) made 41 saves as the Holy Cross men's hockey team defeated Niagara, 4-2, at Dwyer Arena on Friday evening in Atlantic Hockey action. With the win, the Crusaders improve to 5-15-2 overall (4-9-2 AHA), while the Purple Eagles fall to 5-13-3 overall (5-6-3 AHA). These two teams will conclude their two-game series on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Dwyer Arena.

The Crusaders took a 1-0 lead when freshman Mike Barrett (Orland Park, Ill.) netted his team-leading sixth goal of the season and first collegiate power play goal at 11:05 when he knocked in a loose puck from right in front of the net. Freshman Brett McKinnon (Kelowna, British Columbia) and sophomore Joe McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) each tallied an assist. At 15:01, the Crusaders went on a four-on-three power play and took advantage at 16:23, when sophomore Jake Bolton (Ellington, Conn.) blasted a slapshot from the blue line past Niagara goalie Jackson Teichroeb for his second goal of the year. Sophomore Matt Vidal (Manorville, N.Y.) sent Bolton a pass from the faceoff circle after Bolton had passed it him as Vidal posted an assist. Freshman Logan Smith (Littleton, Colo.) also tallied an assist as he started the play by passing the puck to Bolton. Niagara outshot Holy Cross, 10-8 for the period, while the Crusaders went 2-2 on the power play and the Purple Eagles went 0-2.     

The Purple Eagles cut the Crusader lead to 2-1 at 2:58 of the second period when Vince Muto fired a slap shot that was tipped past Ginn by Chris Lochner for his fourth goal of the season. The Crusaders moved back out to a two-goal advantage when junior Tommy Dwyer (Ridgefield, Conn.) knocked the puck loose in the Niagara zone to Gustin who then buried the puck in the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season and his first career game-winner. At 16:25, Ryan Rashid sent a shot that hit the post on the stick side of Ginn keeping the score at 3-1. Niagara outshot Holy Cross by a 13-12 margin.  

At the start of the third period, Adrian Ignagni entered the game in net for the Purple Eagles. At 12:35 of the third period, senior Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) stole the puck and then fired a shot that hit the post as the score remained 3-1. At 16:24, Rashid skated to the net and sent a backhander that was saved by Ginn. At 16:39, freshman Nick Finn (Canton, Mass.) made it a 4-1 contest when he sent a backhander from right in front of the goal to the back of the net. The Purple Eagles then scored the last goal of the game when T.J. Sarcona netted a goal.    

Ginn made 41 saves, while Teichroeb posted 17 in the first two periods and Ignagni tallied six in the third. Niagara outshot Holy Cross, 43-27, while the Crusaders went 2-4 on the power play and the Purple Eagles went 0-6. Ginn was named the first star of the game, while Gustin earned the second star. The Crusaders won 39 of 64 faceoffs, while the Crusaders posted 20 blocked shots and the Purple Eagles tallied 15. Tonight marked Ginn's 44th consecutive appearance in net, which is the 20th longest streak for consecutive appearances by a goalie in NCAA Division I history.

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