STORRS, Conn. - Senior goalie Derek Kump (Falmouth, Maine) earned his second consecutive victory as the Holy Cross men's hockey team downed Connecticut, 3-1, on Friday evening at the Freitas Ice Forum in Atlantic Hockey action. With the win, the Crusaders advance to 9-17-3 overall (8-11-3 AHA), while the Huskies fall to 15-10-4 overall (12-7-3 AHA). The two teams will conclude their home-and-home series on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Hart Center in Holy Cross' fifth annual Pink the Rink game at 7:00 p.m. The team will be wearing special edition white and pink jerseys 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.
The Huskies and Crusaders battled back and forth in the first period. After about five minutes of play, senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) flew up the stick side of UConn goalie Matt Grogan with the puck and took it behind the net. Schmidt pulled back instead of going for the wrap around and sent a backhand pass to the front of the crease, but it was intercepted before reaching the stick of another Crusader. Roughly eight and a half minutes in, sophomore Matt Vidal (Manorville, N.Y.) stole a pass meant for a Connecticut player from behind the net and skated it up to allow for a Crusader change. At 6:58, a UConn skater shot the puck from the stick side circle of Kump and through traffic Kump shut the door keeping the score 0-0. The Huskies had a 4-on-2 opportunity just under 14 minutes into the first. The defense forced a pass across the blue line to the glove side of Kump. The defense kept on the pressure and caused a Connecticut player to miss the shot opportunity. Sophomore Joe McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) set up the first goal of the game. McNamara sent the puck up from the Crusader defensive zone to a skating sophomore Castan Sommer (Shrewsbury, Mass.) at center ice. Sommer sent the puck to Schmidt who was skating up the boards with him. Schmidt continued up the boards while Sommer broke away to the top of the crease where he caught Schmidt's pass and sent it in to beat Grogan and give the Crusaders the 1-0 advantage at 14:57. Shortly after, at 17:30, senior assistant captain Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) set up another opportunity for the Crusaders. Stockton sent a hard pass up the ice to Sommer. Sommer sent the puck across the ice to Schmidt. Schmidt passed the puck over to junior Nilan Nagy (Canonsburg, Pa.). Nagy sent the shot in at Grogan, but Grogan made the save. The Huskies owned the last minute of the period, but came out unsuccessful. With less than a second remaining in the period, UConn's Ryan Segalla took a shot from the blue line that sophomore Sean Gustin (Stoneham, Mass.) blocked from entering the zone as the horn sounded.
The Huskies tried to take advantage of a 4-on-4 opportunity at the beginning of the second when captain Brant Harris fired a shot from the top of the crease on the stick side of Kump that got behind Kump, but rang the post and flew out of the area. The Huskies tried to capitalize on a short-handed chance when Joey Ferriss took off up the ice on Kump's glove side. Before Ferriss could get in a position to shoot, the Crusader defense caught up with him, forcing him to spin with the puck to wait for his teammates to catch up. At 15:54, Schmidt rocketed a shot from the glove side circle to the far side of the net, but Grogan used his blocker to send the puck out wide of the net. Freshman Mike Barrett (Orland Park, Ill.) tried to give the Crusaders a 2-0 lead at 10:17. Freshman Brett McKinnon (Kelowna, British Columbia) was battling for the puck along the boards when he sent it out of the scramble to Barrett. Barrett sent the puck flying at Grogan, but Grogan squared up and made the save to stop the play. At 13:29, Kump came out with a strong showing again. Brett Skibba fired a shot at him from the top of the crease, but Kump sent his right leg out and made the pad save sending the puck out of the crease into the corner. Kump came out the victor in another battle with the Huskies when he caught a pass across the crease from Trevor Gerling meant for Jordan Sims and sent it flying out behind the net. Gustin tried to score the Crusaders' second when at 16:32 he fired a shot from the slot that his Grogan and hit the post before going wide of the net. The Crusaders took the lead 2-0 when Barrett tallied his 10th of the season at 17:21. McKinnon won a faceoff sending the puck flying behind the net to the stick of Vidal. Vidal sent the puck to Barrett waiting at the corner of the crease on the stick side and jammed the puck in between Grogan's skate and the post.
Just 0:40 into the third period the Huskies made their way onto the board. The Huskies stole the puck in the neutral zone and Gerling took hold at the blue line. Gerling sent it to an open Harris who beat Kump high on the glove side to bring the Huskies within a goal. Freshman Logan Smith (Littleton, Colo.) tried to give the Crusaders a two-goal advantage again when he took a near-side slap shot from the point, but Grogan made the glove save at 8:48. At 11:15, Sommer tried for his second of the night when he caught the puck at the top of the crease and sent it backhanded at Grogan. Grogan made the save, but gave up the rebound. Sommer caught his own rebound and tried to capitalize on the chance, but Grogan made the second save as well. At 9:45 Sommer caught the puck at the top of the crease and tried to score backhanded, but Grogan made save and the second stop. Sophomore Brett Lubanski (Farmington Hills, Mich.) caught the puck from sophomore Tim Driscoll (Hingham, Mass.) in the glove side faceoff circle and at 7:35, fired a shot on net from his knee hitting Grogan and launching behind the net. At 1:35, Sims tried to even the game by taking a shot, but Kump continued on strong and made a big save on the play. The Huskies pulled Grogan with 0:55 remaining in the game giving them an extra attacker opportunity in a last chance effort to tie the contest. Stockton stole the puck and dangled up the boards, crossed the puck to Schmidt who was skating alongside him up the middle of the ice. Schmidt tapped the puck into the net taking advantage of the empty net and brought the Crusaders up 3-1. The Huskies remained without a goalie for the final 30 seconds, but could not find the net behind Kump. The Crusaders held on strong for the victory in the end and Kump kept the Huskies to one goal.
During the contest Kump made 20 saves, while Grogan posted 31. Neither team converted a power play chance as the Crusaders went 0-for-2 and UConn went 0-for-3. Prior to the evening, the Huskies were averaging 2.57 goals and allowing only 2.36. The Crusaders came out the victor from the dot winning 31 of the game's 58 faceoffs. Stockton led the charge going 10-4 in the circle. The Crusader defense gave a strong showing making 17 blocks throughout the night, led by sophomore Ben Kaplan (Burlington, Vt.) with three. Schmidt's assist on Sommer's goal extended his point streak to four games and his goal extended his goal-scoring streak to four games as well. Schmidt's empty netter was the 50th goal of his career, the seventh most of any Division I Crusader. It was also his 105th point making him the ninth highest scoring Division I player at Holy Cross. Barrett's goal was his 10th of the season tying him for the ninth most goals scored by a rookie in Division I history at the school and the freshman with the most goals since Jay Silvia in the 2008-2009 season. The Crusaders advance their record to 3-1-0 in the month of February with the win. They are also now 8-2-2 in games where they score three or more goals.
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 eight power play goals at home. For more information and to donate go here:http://www.powerplaypointsforpink.com/.
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