WORCESTER, Mass. – The Sacred Heart men's hockey team came back from two goals down in the first period to tie Holy Cross 3-3 Friday night at the Hart Center, only to see the Crusaders score with 45 seconds remaining to win the game 4-3.
Freshmen Jordan Minello (Sweaburg, Ont.), Justin Danforth (Oshawa, Ont.) and Evan Jasper (Whitby, Ont.) each scored their first career goals Friday night. Jasper and defenseman Tyler Shaw (Sudbury, Ont.) also had their first career assists in the game as Danforth added two assists. Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) made 30 saves in goal.
Holy Cross (1-5-0, 1-0-0 Atlantic Hockey) almost scored in the first minute of the game, but Tim Driscoll's shot dribbled wide of goal. Vazzano was busy early, fighting off shots from Driscoll and Tommy Dwyer 2:28 into the game to keep it scoreless. The Crusaders got on the board via the power play with 15:48 remaining in the first period. Logan Smith fired a shot from the blue line that went off Vazzano's glove into the net to give Holy Cross a 1-0 lead. Sacred Heart (2-4-0, 1-2-0 AHA) had a chance to tie the game with 12:16 left in the period. Drew George (Regina, Sask.) found some open ice in the Holy Cross end and fired a shot on goal that was stopped by Matt Ginn.
The Crusaders extended their lead with 9:52 to play in the opening period. Cameron Lawson deflected a Ryan McGrath shot past Vazzano to put Holy Cross ahead 2-0. The Pioneers responded 58 seconds later. Danforth won a faceoff in the Holy Cross zone to Minello who put a shot past Ginn to get Sacred heart back within one, 2-1. Holy Cross got its advantage back to two goals with 1:29 left in the first when Mike Barrett put a Adam Schmidt feed into the net, making the score 3-1 heading into the first intermission.
The Pioneers had a chance to get back in the game 5:16 into the second period, going on their second power play of the night. However, the man advantage yielded no shots and was cut short when Ben Lake (Calgary, Alb.) was called for holding. With 12:45 to play in the second, Neil Fachini (East Hampton, Conn.) was called for tripping to give Holy Cross a 5-on-3 advantage. The Crusaders had four shots on the two-man advantage but didn't score to keep the game 3-1. The Pioneers cut the deficit to one with 2:10 left in the second. Jasper forced a turnover in the Pioneers zone, leading to a 2-on-1 breakaway for Sacred Heart. Jasper fed the puck to Danforth, who laced a shot from the right circle over Ginn's glove and under the crossbar to make the score 3-2. Jasper then tied the game with 0:24 left, firing a shot over Ginn's right shoulder that skimmed the crossbar and rippled the net to tie the game 3-3 going into the second intermission.
Sacred Heart had two power plays early in the third period, but had only one real chance at goal. Jeff Carroll (Kingston, Ont.) had a shot right in front of the Holy Cross goal stopped by Ginn with 14: 40 left in the game. Holy Cross had a power play with 10:36 remaining in regulation, but the Pioneers' penalty kill held the Crusaders to one shot on goal to keep the game tied 3-3. With both goalies trading saves late in the game, Holy Cross broke through with 45 seconds left. Nick Finn and Tommy Dwyer assisted on Brett Lubanski's goal that gave the Crusaders' a 4-3 lead. Sacred Heart could not get a shot on net in the final seconds as Holy Cross earned its first win of the season.
The Crusaders outshot the Pioneers in the game 34-16. Holy Cross was 1-for-4 on the power play while Sacred Heart was 0-for-4 with two shots.
Sacred Heart goes back on the road Saturday night for a 7:05 p.m. game at Connecticut.