Men's Hockey Drops Contest, 4-2, To Pioneers

Ryan McGrath

MILFORD, Conn. – Sacred Heart's Andrew Bodnarchuk posted 41 saves during the night as the Holy Cross men's hockey team fell to the Sacred Heart Pioneers, 4-2, on Friday evening at the Milford Ice Pavilion in Atlantic Hockey action. With the loss, the Crusaders drop to 7-17-3 overall (6-11-3 AHA), while the Pioneers advance to 8-19-0 overall (7-13-0 AHA). The two teams will meet again tomorrow night, Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Hart Center to conclude their two-game home-and-home series with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.

Just 1:38 into the first period the Pioneers took the lead. Brian Sheehan dropped the puck off in the neutral zone for Nick Lotito. Lotito took the puck down the boards on the stick side of junior goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) and shot it from the outside of the faceoff circle, and on a bad bounce the puck went past Ginn to bring the Pioneers ahead 1-0. At 5:28, freshman Nick Finn (Canton, Mass.) tried to tie the game up with a shot through two defensemen after catching a pass from senior assistant captain Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.), but Bodnarchuk caught the puck to make the save. Finn had a second opportunity shortly after as Stockton poked the puck away and Finn took a shot drawing a rebound, but Bodnarchuk made saves on both of Finn's chances and stopped the puck. At 8:30, sophomore Castan Sommer (Shrewsbury, Mass.) fired a shot from the glove side circle that barely missed the net ringing the post. The Pioneers' Justin Danforth caught the puck in the neutral zone and came down on a shorthanded chance with a minute remaining on the Pioneer power play, but sophomore Karl Beckman (Okemos, Mich.) cut off his angle and Ginn made the save on the shot Danforth forced to try to get one on net. The Pioneers penalty expired and at 8:49 Jeff Carroll took it up the wing but due to a sprawling Crusader defenseman could not make the shot. He dumped it off at the top of the crease for Jordan Minello who sent the puck in between the skate of Ginn and the post to bring the Pioneers in front by a 2-0 score. Despite being given back-to-back power play opportunities, the Pioneers could not convert either. The Pioneers kept the pressure strong as they outshot the Crusaders 12-6 during the period.  

Early in the second period, sophomore Brett Lubanski (Farmington Hills, Mich.) took a shot from the stick side circle of Bodnarchuk that drew a rebound out. Lubanski made a diving shot high that was gloved down and out by a Pioneer defender. Senior captain Ryan McGrath (Pittsburgh, Pa.) caught the gloved pass and rifled a shot from the point that beat Bodnarchuk and brought the game within one 2:09 into the second. The Pioneers responded at 4:00 when they caught a turnover at center ice. Sheehan crossed a pass to the bottom of the circle to Lotito to beat Ginn for his second of the night. The Crusaders lit the lamp again on a delayed penalty call at 5:35 when sophomore Jake Bolton (Ellington, Conn.) fired a shot in from the blue line. After review, the goal was taken back due to a high stick in front of the net and the score remained 3-1. At 7:59, sophomore Joe McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) set up freshman Brett McKinnon (Kelowna, British Columbia) for a chance at the first goal of his career. McKinnon caught the puck at the corner of the crease on the glove side, but it hit the outside of the post and bounced wide of the net. The Crusaders fought back hard during the period outshooting the Pioneers 16-11, but they still trailed by two at the end of the second.

At 5:51 into the third, senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) caught the puck in the neutral zone behind center ice and dangled the puck up ice. Schmidt took a short-handed shot from the glove side of Bodnarchuk and lit the lamp for his fourth time down a man in his career and second on the season. Just seconds after Schmidt's goal the Crusaders took another penalty allowing the Pioneers a 5-on-3 chance. With 0:23 left in the second penalty the Pioneers' Josh Phillips took a shot from the blue line that went between the blocker and the pad of Ginn bouncing off the crossbar and back into the crease allowing Ginn to make the save and stop the play. On a 4-on-4 chance Minello came down the ice on a 1-on-1 with a Holy Cross defender and beat Ginn to bring the Pioneers up 4-2. The Crusaders tried to bring the game within one again when Sommer, Stockton and junior Nilan Nagy (Canonsburg, Pa.) took short-handed shots forcing Bodnarchuk to make big saves. The Crusaders pulled Ginn with 1:21 remaining in the game and a bouncing puck down into the Crusader zone almost allowed the Pioneers to take advantage of the empty net. McNamara raced down the ice and intercepted the puck to keep it in play. Despite the extra attacker for the remaining time, the Pioneers kept their 4-2 lead.

Ginn made 27 saves, while Bodnarchuk kept 41 shots out of the net. The Crusaders capitalized on the draw outfaceoffing the Pioneers 45-34 led by junior Jake Youso (International Falls, Minn.) who went 11-2 in the circle. The Crusaders outshot the Pioneers 43-31 during the contest. The only special teams' goal of the night was Schmidt's short-handed goal as the Crusaders went 0-for-5 on the power play and the Pioneers went 0-for-6. Schmidt's short-handed goal was the fourth of his career, tying him for the second most all-time among Division I players at the school and his second this season which ties him for fourth in a single season. The goal was also the 47th of his career which ties him for the eighth most by a Division I player. The goal was Schmidt's 101st career point, moving him to 10th place in career points. Ginn played in his 49th consecutive game tonight maintaining his streak that is the 20th longest in NCAA Division I history. Ginn now has made 815 saves this season which are the fourth most for a Division I season at the school.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, the Holy Cross men's hockey program will host its fifth annual "Pink the Rink" at the Hart Center during its game versus Connecticut at 7:00 p.m. The team will be wearing a special edition white and pink jersey to show its support for breast cancer awareness. The jerseys will be auctioned off throughout the game with all proceeds going to Pink Revolution, which is an alliance of dedicated individuals with a unified commitment to those touched by breast cancer. 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. For more information and to donate go here: http://www.powerplaypointsforpink.com/.

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