Pioneers Edged By Holy Cross In Series Opener

Pioneers Edged By Holy Cross In Series Opener

BRIDGEPORT, Conn.— The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team fell to Holy Cross 3-1 on Friday night at in the first game of the home-&-home series. The Pioneers (5-13-4, 3-9-4 AHA) fought late at Webster Bank Arena but the Crusaders (8-8-7, 7-4-6 AHA) added the empty net goal with three seconds remaining to pull away with the win. 

Freshman Alex Bates picked up the lone Pioneer goal on the night in the second period, his third of the season. Sophomores Jason Cotton & Austin McIlmurray earned assists for the second straight contest on the goal. Senior netminder Nathan Perry registered 26 save in the start between the pipes for SHU.

Turning Point…

The Crusaders got momentum on their side early in the game, converting on a Lopez power play goal just 2:32 into the first period. Holy Cross continued its attack into the second outshooting the Pioneers 12-3 in the frame. Ryan Ferrill chipped in the second of the game at 4:14 to give the Crusaders the 2-0 lead.

The Pioneers offense started to click in the tail end of the second period as Bates fired home the goal from the top of the slot to cut the deficit to one at 16:33. Freshman Josh Allan nearly tied the game at the 13-minute his one-timer from the point rung off the right post.

SHU earned a power play opportunity at 16:57 in the final period, but Crusaders goaltender Paul Berrafato closed the door stopping two shots on goal on the chance. After an extra attacker flurry in the final 45 seconds, Michael Laffin picked up the turnover and fed the puck to Lopez to seal the final at 3-1.

How They Scored…

2:32 – 1st Period: Holy Cross 1, SHU 0: The Crusaders took advantage of the power play early, Spencer Trapp picked up the puck at the point and fired a wrist shot on net. T.J. Moore was there to deflect it out to Lopez who was wide open from the left circle.

4:14 – 2nd Period: Holy Cross 2, SHU 0: Holy Cross picked up its second goal early in the second as Charlie Barrow hit Lopez in transition into the SHU zone. Lopez pulled back to create separation and fired a wrist shot on goal. Ferrill was at the doorstep to redirect the shot past Perry.

16:33 – 2nd Period: Holy Cross 2, SHU 1: The Pioneers finally got on the board late in the second period. Cotton picked up the puck along the halfwall out to McIllmurray at left point. He dished the puck to Bates who skated in and fired a wrist shot that was deflected off a Holy Cross defender stick to knuckle Berrafato. 

19:57 – 3rd Period: Holy Cross 3, SHU 1: After several extra attacker shots on goal by the Pioneers, the Crusaders finally cleared the puck out past the neutral zone. SHU tried one last heave into the Holy Cross end but Laffin was there to collect the turnover. He dished the puck ahead to Lopez to finish off the hat trick.

Key Stats & Notes…

  • Bates became the ninth Pioneer to reach double digit points with his third goal of season (3-7—10).
  • SHU has surrendered a power play goal in three straight games, going 2-for-3 on the penalty kill tonight.
  • McIlmurray is now third on the team with 15 points, his helper tonight is his seventh of the season.

Up Next...

The Pioneers travel to Worcester tomorrow night for the final game of the home-&-home series and the final regular season meeting between both teams. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. from the Hart Center.