March 3, 2012
WORCESTER, Mass. - Holy Cross scored two goals in the first period and held off Army to win a first-round Atlantic Hockey Association game, 5-2, Saturday night at the Hart Center.
The Crusaders, who are now 8-0-1 in their last nine games, won the first two contests of the best-of-three series and advanced to the quarterfinals of the AHA playoffs.
Holy Cross, now 19-13-4 and seeded fifth, will travel to fourth-seed Mercyhurst for a best-of-three series beginning Friday in Erie, Pa.
Army, the No. 12 seed, ends its season 4-23-7.
Holy Cross finished the regular season tied for third and dropped to fifth because of tiebreakers.
The Crusaders, with the nation's longest current unbeaten streak, continued to ride the stellar goaltending of Matt Gunn, the national Goalie of the Month, who made 20 saves on Saturday.
Army's Ryan Leets was excellent as well, turning away 36 shots.
Army senior captain Marcel Alvarez scored a power play goal with an assist from his brother Maurice, while fellow captain Mike Hull also scored. Andy Starczewski had a pair of assist and Danny Colvin a single assist.
The Crusaders got the first goal of the game for the second night in a row. While Leets was solid early on, national Player of the Month Adam Schmidt chipped in a rebound in front of the net for his 16th goal of the season midway through the first period.
Sixty-five seconds later, the Crusaders made it a 2-0 contest as Shayne Stockton picked up his seventh goal of the year.
Each team had a power play chance, Army for interference and Holy Cross for high sticking, but the score mained 2-0 in Holy cross' favor after the first period.
Army applied offensive pressure early in the second period with several scoring chances and held an 11-10 advantage in shots on goal in the stanza.
It was Holy Cross though that got the goal, scoring on the power play. With an Army player whistled for tripping, Matt Clune scored his third goal of the season. Clune intercepted an Army pass and kept the puck in the offensive zone, precariously close to the blue line, and then benefitted from a screen to extend the lead to 3-0 nine minutes into the second period.
Army got on the score board with a great power play opportunity. Army continued to cycle the puck and got shots on Ginn and was rewarded when Marcel Alvarez scored his third goal of the season with 14:41 left to play. Maurice Alvarez collected his 12th assist while Starczewski picked up his 10th.
Holy Cross pushed its lead back to three goals with a goal during a 5-on-3 advantage. With Army players in the penalty box for elbowing and tripping, Andrew Cox knocked in his 14th goal of the season with seven minutes left to play to make it 4-1.
Army wasn't finished yet. After killing two Holy Cross power play attempts, Hull scored his eighth goal of the season. Starczewski earned his second point with his 11th assist while Colvin posted his 16th assist. Hull concluded his outstanding career with 99 points.
The Black Knights pulled Leets but Kyle Fletcher closed the scoring with an empty-net tally with 58 seconds left.
GAME NOTES: Army's starting lineup consisted of Danny Colvin, Mike Hull and Andy Starczewski with Cody Ikkala and Marcel Alvarez on defense and Ryan Leets in goal ... Leets made his 39th career start ... Col. Ed Naessens is serving as the team's Officer Representative ...Holy Cross has a small bench area so back-up goaltender Matt Walsh spent most of the game in the penalty box while manager Jon Greaney was posted in the hallway.
HOLY CROSS 5, ARMY 2
HOLY CROSS 2-1-2--5
HC - Schmidt (Nagy), 08:15
HC - Stockton (Vos ), 09:20
HC - Clune (unassisted), PP, 8:56
ARMY - Marcel Alvarez (Maurice Alvarez, Starczewski), PP, 6:04
HC - Cox (Schmidt, Day ), PP, 12:50
ARMY - Hull (Colvin, Starczewski), 18:35
HC - Fletcher (Nilan), EN, 19:02
Shots: Army 22 (3-11-8); Holy Cross 41 (14-10-17)
Saves: Army 36 (Leets, 59;52, 12-9-15; empty net, 00:08); Holy Cross 20 (Ginn, 59:36, 3-11-6; empty net, 00:24)
Power Plays: Army, 1-3; Holy Cross, 2-6
Penalties: Army, 6-12; Holy Cross, 3-6