WALTHAM, Mass. — Holy Cross jumped out to a 2-0 lead and senior goaltender Tony Quesada made sure it was just enough by making 23 saves as the Crusaders beat Bentley College, 2-1, Friday night in Atlantic Hockey action at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena. With the win Holy Cross improved to 18-6-1 overall and moved into first place in the AHA with a record of 14-4-1, while Bentley fell to 9-11-4 overall and 7-7-4 in the league.
Holy Cross scored the opening goal 5:05 into the game on a 5-on-3 power play to take the early lead. Shots from James Sixsmith and Matt Burke forced saves from junior goaltender Ray Jean, but the rebound off the second shot fell to Sean Nappo on the left side of the slot. Nappo fired off a quick shot that beat Jean to the shortside and just inside the post for his fifth goal of the season.
The Crusaders doubled their lead 1:24 into the second period as Dale Reinhardt netted his eighth goal of the season. Blair Bartlett got the puck behind the Bentley net and threw a pass out front where Shane McAdam fired a shot on goal. Jean made the kick save, but the rebound fell right to Reinhardt on the doorstep and Reinhardt made no mistake, jamming the rebound home.
Three minutes later Bentley had an opportunity to even the game as Anthony Canzoneri played Tom Dickhudt in alone on Quesada, but the Crusaders’ senior netminder made the save. Bentley would grab a goal back with 8:43 to go in the second period on Canzoneri’s seventh goal and team-leading 21st point of the season. Freshman Dain Prewitt shot on goal, but Quesada gave up a rebound in front and Canzoneri jammed it home to get Bentley back to within a goal.
The Holy Cross defense did a good job of keeping Bentley’s chances to the perimeter of the zone to allow Quesada the chance to see the puck. At the other end of the ice, Jean did a good job of keeping Bentley in the game, making 16 saves in the second period and 12 more in the third.
The Falcons came close to getting a dramatic tying goal in the dying seconds of the game. After pulling Jean for the extra skater, the Falcons saw freshmen Casey Russell’s shot from just inside the blue line parried by Quesada to his right to Brendan McCartin, but the senior fired wide on the short side of the open net with under 10 seconds remaining.
Jean finished the night with 36 saves in the loss and kept the Holy Cross power play, which was ranked fifth in Division I entering the night, to just one power-play goal on seven chances. On the other end, the Crusader penalty kill, third best in the nation, killed off all seven Bentley power-play opportunities.
The two teams meet again Saturday night at the Hart Center in Worcester, game time is 7:00.