December 6, 2013

Atlantic Hockey: Crusaders set sights on Falcons

By Allen Lessels

Coach Paul Pearl congratulates goalie Matt Ginn after Holy Cross' win over BC last weekend. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Holy Cross pulled off a coup for itself and Atlantic Hockey when it upended No. 7-ranked Boston College, 5-4, in Conte Forum on Friday.

Boston College had never lost to an Atlantic Hockey team and for Holy Cross it was the team’s third win over an opponent ranked in the Top 10. It was also the Crusaders’ first non-conference win of the season against five loses.

It’s pretty big,’’ Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl told the Boston Globe. “They’re an excellent team and an excellent program. They do things right, how we’d like to kind of model ourselves. To be able to come in here and beat them is pretty special.’’

A line of freshman Mike Barrett centering for sophomores Castan Sommer (Shrewsbury, Mass.) on the left and Matt Vidal on the right provided the Crusader offense.

Barrett had two goals and an assist, Vidal a goal and two assists and Sommer a goal and an assist.

Holy Cross led 5-1 after two periods and then held off a BC rally in the third.

The Eagles outshot Holy Cross, 38-18, for the game and 14 of junior goalie Matt Ginn’s 34 saves came in the final period and he was especially tough late in the game.

BC got to within a goal with just over four minutes left and had its goalie pulled for most of the final two minutes but could not tie it up.

“As you saw and as people have seen over the last three years, Matt’s a very good goaltender,’’ Pearl said. “If he can see it, he can usually stop it. He was able to square up to the puck and really keep composed under those scrambly situations. Obviously, tons of credit to Matt and some credit to my (defensemen) and forwards going down there and picking up the right guys.’’

The Crusaders move back into Atlantic Hockey for their next three games.

Air Force comes to Worcester for games on Friday and Saturday. The Falcons are tied for second place in the league with nine points. Holy Cross enters the weekend in a four-way tie for seventh with six points. 

Holy Cross and Air Force split a pair of games in Colorado Springs last season. The Crusaders won, 3-2, the first night and lost the second, 7-0.

Holy Cross takes its holiday break after the Air Force series and comes back to play Bentley on Dec. 28 at Fenway Park as part of the Frozen Fenway festivities. The Crusaders won’t have long to savor that memory: They play at Yale at 4 p.m. on Dec. 29.

Player of the Week

Mike Barrett, fr. F, Holy Cross

Barrett had two goals and an assist to lead the Crusaders to a 5-4 win at No. 7-ranked Boston College on Friday night. He scored the first goal of the game 12:24 into the opening period and assisted on linemate Castan Sommer’s goal 55 seconds later. Barrett also scored in the second period.

Games of the Week

Niagara at UConn, Friday and Saturday

The Purple Eagles and Huskies are in a three-way tie for fourth place in the league with Canisius. UConn looks to bounce back from a one-point weekend at Canisius and Niagara lost its last Atlantic Hockey game to Mercyhurst.

 Power Rankings

1. Mercyhurst (7-7-1, 5-1-0)  . . . The Lakers had one win in their first seven games and then went 6-2-0 in November to climb in the standings and rankings. They are at home against Sacred Heart for games on Friday and Saturday.

2. Bentley (5-7-1, 4-2-1) . . . The Falcons picked up three points with a Friday win, 4-2, and Saturday tie, 2-2, at Air Force. Six of Bentley’s next seven league games are at home and the other league contest in that stretch is against Holy Cross at Fenway Park on Dec. 28.

3. Air Force (7-5-2, 4-2-1) . . . Air Force needed an extra attacker goal from junior Chad Demers with 28 seconds left to salvage a tie and one point from its weekend series at home against Bentley. The Falcons are at Holy Cross this weekend.

4. Canisius (4-7-1, 3-3-1) . . . The Golden Griffins lost their first three league games and are unbeaten in their last four. Junior Braeden Rigney had the winner in a 3-1 decision over UConn on Friday. Canisius had two power plays goal in a 2-2 tie on Saturday.  

5. UConn (4-5-2, 3-2-1) . . . The Huskies got an extra attacker goal from Brant Harris with 1:25 left to earn a 2-2 tie at Canisius on Saturday. UConn lost Friday’s game, 3-1. The Huskies host Niagara on Friday and Saturday.

6. Holy Cross (4-9-0, 3-4-0) . . . Freshman forward Mike Barrett scored a pair of goals to lead the Crusaders to a 5-4 win at Boston College on Friday. BC outshot Holy Cross 38-18 and scored three third-period goals, but the Crusaders held on.

7. AIC (3-8-0, 3-4-0) . . . The Yellow Jackets have lost four straight league games going into contests at RIT on Friday and Saturday. AIC then plays at Maine on Dec. 13 and 14 before taking a break for Christmas.

8. Niagara (3-9-1, 3-2-1) . . . The Purple Eagles lost at Cornell, 4-2 on Nov. 26 and were off last weekend. They play at UConn on Friday and Saturday. Niagara beat UConn 3-0 and 5-0 at home last year in early November.  

9. RIT (4-7-2, 3-3-0) . . . Freshman Mike Rotolo was in net for 5-2 and 4-0 wins over Sacred Heart last weekend. He has won all three of his starts and has a .938 save percentage and goals against average of 2.00. AIC is at RIT this weekend. 

10. Sacred Heart (4-10-0, 3-5-0) . . . The Pioneers struggled on special teams in losses at home to RIT. The Pioneers were 0-for-7 on the power play and RIT was 4-for-7 on its man-advantage chances.

11. Robert Morris (2-8-1, 2-3-1) . . . The Colonials had last weekend off and return to action with a pair of games at Bentley. Robert Morris split with the Falcons last year at home, winning 4-2 and losing 5-4.

12. Army (2-10-0, 2-7-0) . . . The Black Knights, who beat AIC 4-3 in overtime in their last outing, open a nine-game home-stand with games against Canisius on Friday and Saturday. The teams split a pair of games at Canisius last season.