ERIE, Pa. — Freshman forward Pierre-Luc O’Brien’s shorthanded goal 54 seconds into overtime, gave Sacred Heart a 3-2 victory over Mercyhurst Friday night before 800 at the Ice Center.
The win was the seventh straight for SHU as the Pioneers improved to 11-14-3 overall and 11-6-2 in Atlantic Hockey. The Lakers lost for the third time in a two-week span to Sacred Heart and fell to 16-12-2, 13-6-1.
Sacred Heart had the first period’s lone goal as junior forward Garrett Larson converted a two-man advantage at 17:15, but Mercyhurst rallied for two scores in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
Junior forward David Wrigley scored his 13th of the year at 1:46 and sophomore defenseman Preston Briggs tallied his first of the season at 14:08.
The Pioneers got the equalizer about two minutes later as Larson recorded his second of the game and 15th of the season.
Neither team found the back of the net in the third, setting the stage for O’Brien’s overtime heroics.
Special teams played a role in the outcome. The Lakers failed on eight power plays, including the last three of the game. The Pioneers converted one of five chances and got the game-winner down a man.
SHU junior goalie Kevin LaPointe made 19 saves to pick up his tenth win of the season and third over the Lakers. Mercyhurst sophomore netminder Andy Franck (13-7-2) stopped 30 of 33 in absorbing the setback.
Mercyhurst is still in second place in the conference with 27 points. Onrushing Sacred Heart is third with 24 points and a game in hand on the Lakers. The Pioneers will make up that game Saturday, February 21, at Canisius.
Mercyhurst will play three of its final four games on the road starting next Friday at the conference’s top team, Holy Cross. The Lakers will visit Bentley next Saturday and return to the Ice Center Friday, March 5, against Canisius before ending the regular season in Buffalo against the Ice Griffs the following night.
The Atlantic Hockey playoffs will begin the following weekend at Army.