WEST POINT, N.Y. — Jeff Gould scored directly off a faceoff with 0.9 seconds remaining in regulation, snapping a 1-1 tie and lifting Mercyhurst to a 2-1 win over a stunned Army team before 1,497 at Tate Rink Saturday night.
An Army defenseman was whistled for closing his hand on the puck with 3.3 seconds remaining in regulation, resulting in a faceoff to the left of the Black Knight goal. Gould was instructed by coach Rick Gotkin to shoot forward on the ensuing faceoff. He did just that, and the puck ricocheted off an Army skate and trickled past goalie Scott Hamilton for the winning goal.
The miracle goal kept the Lakers unbeaten in MAAC play at 7-0-1, and upped their record to 7-3-2 overall. Army, which controlled play for the majority of the first two periods, fell to 5-9 overall and 4-6 in the conference.
Army outshot Mercyhurst 11-7 in the first period and had several excellent scoring chances, but Laker goalie Peter Aubry kept the Black Knights off the scoreboard with several acrobatic saves. Army finally broke through at the 5:31 mark of the second period when Mike Fairman flipped a backhand past an off-balance Aubry.
Fairman, who could not get good wood on a point-blank shot just moments earlier, cashed in on the second chance with his team-leading seventh goal of the year. Linemates Nathan Mayfield and Joe Dudek assisted on the play.
The Army lead lasted until the 2:37 mark of the third period, when Mercyhurst took advantage of an Army penalty. Mark Stamp fed Marty Rychley from behind the net, and Rychley scored the equalizer between Hamilton’s pads.
Aubry kept the game tied when he robbed Tim Murphy with a skate save with 11 minutes remaining, part of lowering his MAAC-best 1.42 goals-against average with a 27-save performance. Mercyhurst entered the game ranked second nationally in team defense, yielding only 1.70 goals per game.
Hamilton made 23 saves for Army, which held a 28-25 shot advantage in the first meeting between the two schools.
The Black Knights are idle until a New Year’s Eve contest with Queen’s College of Canada (2 p.m.) at Tate Rink. Mercyhurst hosts Bowling Green Dec. 28.