WORCESTER, Mass. – Breaking a 2-2 tie in the third period, Mercyhurst's Grant Blakey netted the game winner as the No. 3 seed Holy Cross men's hockey team fell to No. 6 seed Mercyhurst, 3-2, at the Hart Center on Friday night in Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinal action. With the loss, the Crusaders drop to 19-13-3 overall, while the Lakers rise to 17-15-5 overall. The teams meet again at the Hart Center on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. for the second game of the series. With the win tonight, the Mercyhurst Lakers are one win away from the Atlantic Hockey Semifinal game in Rochester, N.Y. on Friday, March 22, 2013.
To give the Crusaders an early lead, junior Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) beat Mercyhurst goaltender Jordan Tibbett 10:31 into the first period. Senior Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y) held the puck in his own defensive zone before crossing the puck to junior Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.). Schmidt dangled through the Laker defense before setting up for Stockton to finish the goal. Neither team received a penalty during the first period. The Lakers led the period with eight shots while the Crusaders did not trail far behind with seven.
The first and only three penalties of the game struck back to back to back against the Crusaders giving the Lakers two distinct five on three opportunities. The Lakers' Tyler Shiplo capitalized on the five on three opportunity 16:07 into the second period tying the score 1-1. With time expired on all three penalties, sophomore Jake Youso (International Falls, Minn.) passed the puck to freshman Karl Beckman (Okemos, Mich.). Beckman rifled a shot from the blue line that was tipped through traffic by sophomore Mike McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) to bring the Crusaders ahead one more time. Nine seconds later, at 18:29 into the second, Mercyhurst's Daniel Bahntge replied with the equalizer unassisted. The Lakers outshot the Crusaders, 16-10, in the second period while going 1-3 on the power play.
7:17 into the third period, Mercyhurst's Blakey tallied the final goal of the game bringing the Lakers to a 3-2 lead over the Crusaders. Despite playing with an empty net in favor of an extra attacker for the final 1:40 of the game, the Crusaders could not answer Blakey's goal. The Crusaders outshot the Lakers, 9-5, in the third period, and neither team received a power play opportunity.
The Lakers outshot the Crusaders, 29-26, while going 1-3 on the power play. Sophomore goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) made 26 saves on the night, while Mercyhurst's Tibbett stopped 24 shots.