March 9, 2013
ERIE, Pa. – Grant Blakey scored twice to lead Mercyhurst to a 5-2 victory and a first-round Atlantic Hockey Association series sweep over Army, Saturday at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
Army trailed by a goal in the final period but could get no closer and saw its season come to an end.
The Lakers, the sixth-seed in the AHA Tournament, improved to 16-15-5 after taking two games from Army. Mercyhurst will play a quarterfinal series at third-seeded Holy Cross.
Army, the 11th seed, saw its season come to a close with a 7-22-5 record.
Willie Faust and Joe Kozlak scored Army’s goals while Christian Pomarico, Zak Zaremba and John Clark collected assists.
Mercyhurst goalie Max Strang made 36 saves while Army’s Rob Tadazak turned away 34 shots.
Tadazak turned in his third consecutive quality start. He registered 14 saves in the first period, eight in the second and 12 in the final session.
Army was the more aggressive team early. Pomarico hit the post and Brian Schultz, Zaremba and Mac Lalor collected shots on goal in the first four minutes of the contest.
Mercyhurst, which fell behind 1-0 on Friday, this time jumped out to a 1-0 lead, scoring five minutes into the contest when Grant Blakey picked up his ninth goal of the season.
Josh Roberts posted one of Army’s 11 first-period shots on goal but the Black Knights trailed 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes.
Thane Heller and Josh Richards, after a great move by Joe Kozlak to beat a defender, had shots on goal in the opening minutes of the second period.
The Lakers, though, extended their lead to 2-0 four minutes into the second session on Dan O’Donoghue’s 11th goal of the season.
Army continued to generate chances as Heller and Richards registered shots. Kozlak hit the post during 4-on-4 hockey and Andy Starczewski had a blast of a slapshot turned away.
The Black Knights were finally rewarded with a power play goal with 6:21 left in second period. Faust, to the right of Strang, went high for his fifth goal of the season, converting assists from Pomarico and Zaremba. Pomarico had a shot on goal that was pushed aside. Zaremba collected the loose puck and found Faust. It was the second assist for Pomarico and the fifth for Zaremba and made it a 2-1 game after two periods.
Army out-shot Mercyhurst 18-9 in the second period.
The Lakers went back ahead by two goals midway through the final session when Blakey scored after a scramble in front of the net for a 3-1 lead with 11:04 left to play.
Kozlak kept Army in the game with his seventh goal of the season. Clark moved the puck to Kozlak who beat Strang as Clark collected his sixth assist with less than six minutes left to play.
O’Donoghue picked up his second goal of the game with 3:32 left to play.
The Lakers closed their scoring with their second empty net goal in as many games.
GAMES NOTES: Mercyhurst beat Syracuse, 4-1, to claim the College Hockey America women’s tournament prior to the start of Army vs. Mercyhurst … Army wore its black sweaters … Army’s starting lineup consisted of Willie Faust, Thane Heller, Josh Richards, Jonathan Gehrt and Mac Lalor with Rob Tadazak in goal … Tadazak made his 31st career start … Col. Wiley Thompson served as Officer Representative … In other first round AHA series, #5 Robert Morris swept #12 Sacred Heart; #7 Canisius took two from #10 Bentley and #8 RIT handled #9 AIC … Air Force, Niagara, Holy Cross and Connecticut will host best-of-three quarterfinal series beginning Friday.
MERCYHURST 5, ARMY 2
MH – Blakey (Zay, Bodo), 5:24
MH – O’Donoghue (Just, Frischmon), 4:38
ARMY – Faust (Pomarico, Zaremba), PP, 13:39
MH – Blakey (Just, Jones), 8:56
ARMY – Kozlak (Clark), 15:07
MH – O’Donoghue (Frischmon, Just), 16:28
MH – Misiak (Jones), EN, 19:10
Shots: Army 38 (11-18-9); Mercyhurst 39 (15-9-15)
Saves: Army 34 (Tadazak, 59:13, 14-8-12; empty net, :47); Mercyhurst 36 (Strang, 60:00, 11-17-8)
Power Plays: Army, 1-2; Mercyhurst, 0-0
Penalties: Army, 1-2; Mercyhurst, 3-6