FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Senior goaltender Kevin LaPointe stopped 30 shots to lead Sacred Heart (13-15-1, 13-5-1 AHA) past the feisty Holy Cross Crusaders (14-11-5, 11-5-4 AHA), and back into sole possession of first place in Atlantic Hockey at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
The Pioneers started the scoring just over halfway through the opening frame on the power play. After a failed clearing attempt by the Crusaders, Scott Marchesi sent a pass into the corner for Rocco Molinaro. Molinaro fed Garrett Larson in the slot for a one-timer that beat Crusader netminder Tony Quesada for the 1-0 lead.
The period looked as though it would end with an SHU advantage, but Holy Cross kept pressing and got one past LaPointe with just three-tenths of a second left on the clock. Marc Bianchi sent a shot from the right dasher which found its way in to knot the score at 1. Tanner Fogarty and Chris Trovato picked up helpers on the goal.
The Pioneers again capitalized on the power play in the second period, scoring with just one second left on the man advantage as Barclay Folk redirected a Bernie Chmiel slapshot from the blue line for the game winner.
The Crusaders looked as if they had tied the contest midway through the final stanza, but a crease violation wiped out the goal and kept the Pioneer advantage at one goal.
The Crusaders, however, ratcheted up the pressure, forcing LaPointe to make save after save to maintain the edge. A hooking penalty to Larson with just 2:10 left gave the Crusaders one final opportunity to knot the game in regulation, but Sacred Heart’s Pierre-Luc O’Brien drew a hooking penalty against Andrew McKay in the process of keeping O’Brien from sealing the game with an empty-net goal.
The penalty ended the Crusaders’ chances as the game finished as a 2-1 Pioneer victory.
LaPointe’s 30 saves upped his record to an even 10-10-1 on the season, while Quesada’s 17 dropped his record to 8-7-1. The Pioneers finished the night 2-4 on the power play while holding Holy Cross off the board in five turns with the man advantage.