March 13, 2005
WORCESTER, MA (March 12) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers (13-21-1) were defeated by the Holy Cross Crusaders (16-13-6) in the opening round of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament on Saturday night at the Hart Recreation Center. Andrew Weber scored three goals for the Crusaders, who benefited from a bevy of close calls throughout the game.
The Crusaders would strike first in the opening period, scoring at the 10:56 mark. Marc Bianchi sent a pass from the Holy Cross zone all the way to the opposite blue line which sprung Weber for a breakaway opportunity that he cashed in on for the 1-0 lead. The Pioneers would respond shortly thereafter at the 14:26 mark. Rocco Molinaro (Dearborn, MI) won a face-off in the attacking zone and picked up the puck along the boards. Garrett Larson (Rycroft, AB), who had been set up at the blue line for the face off, slashed his way toward the net where Molinaro hit him with a pass. Larson collected the puck on the backhand and sent a shot past Crusader goalie Tony Quesada to level the game at 1-1.
The Crusaders jumped back on top at the 16:00 minute mark on a controversial goal by Weber. After Kevin LaPointe (Quebec City, QC) stopped the initial shot by Chris Sullivan and covered the puck with his glove, Weber crashed the net and dislodged the puck from the safety of LaPointe's glove and it slid across the goal line into the net before the referee could whistle the play dead. Sacred Heart would respond late in the first period, taking advantage of their first power play of the game. After maintaining pressure in the offensive zone, Sacred Heart finally broke through as Bernie Chmiel (Pittsburgh, PA) sent a shot from the right face off circle to the stick side of Quesada to knot the contest at 2-2 with just 21 seconds left in the period.
Holy Cross would re-take a one-goal advantage at 4:57 mark on a second controversial goal, this time by Matt Burke. After LaPointe stopped a shot by James Sixsmith the net became dislodged as Burke chipped at the rebound, which slid into the net. The referee allowed the goal to stand and the Pioneers were down once again.
SHU looked as if they had tied the game just a few minutes later, but once again a controversial call would not go the way of the Pioneers. A slap shot from Chmiel from the high slot area looked as if it had went into the net and quickly bounced out, but the goal judge didn't turn the light on and the referee didn't indicate a goal, so the score stayed at 3-2.
Holy Cross wasted little time in the third period extending their lead to 4-2, scoring just 3:26 into the period to quench any Pioneer attempt at a late comeback.
LaPointe finished the night making 24 saves in taking the loss while Quesada stopped 21 shots to pick up the victory. SHU finished 1/5 on the power play and Holy Cross was 1/3.