WORCESTER, Mass. — Sophomore Matt Burke scored the game-winning goal in the third period as top-seeded Holy Cross defeated eighth-seeded American International, 3-1, in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals Saturday evening at the Hart Center.
The Yellow Jackets scored the lone goal of the first period when Ryan Robin notched his eighth of the season at the 13:53 mark. Robin received a pass on the left side of the Holy Cross zone and drove to the goal, firing a shot past Holy Cross senior goaltender Tony Quesada.
Holy Cross outshot AIC by a 17-7 margin in the first, while the Crusaders went 0-2 on the power play and the Yellow Jackets were 0-1.
The Crusaders tied the game at 1 with 48 seconds left in the second period when senior Blair Bartlett scored his career-high 12th goal of the year as he buried the puck in the upper right corner of the net past AIC goalie Tom Fenton.
For the period, Holy Cross had 15 shots and went 0-3 on the man-advantage, while AIC had seven shots and did not convert on its lone opportunity.
Burke’s game-winner came at just 50 seconds into the third. He sent a shot from the right faceoff circle that sneaked past Fenton to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead.
Junior Jon Landry then put the game out of reach when he netted a goal at the 14:11 mark, firing a shot over the net that hit the glass and bounced back, hitting the skate of an AIC player and deflecting into the net.
Quesada made 20 saves and is now 19-5-2 on the season, while Fenton stopped 39 shots and is 6-16-5. With the victory, Quesada tied the Holy Cross record for wins in a season, matching Mark Young, who set the record in 1979-80.
Holy Cross outshot AIC, 42-21, for the game; the Crusaders went 0-6 on the power play and the Yellow Jackets went 0-4.
With the win, Holy Cross advances to the semifinals to face sixth-seeded Connecticut on Friday, March 17, at the Hart Center at 4 p.m. The Crusaders improve to 24-9-2 overall, while the Yellow Jackets conclude their season with a 6-21-5 overall record.
Second-seeded Mercyhurst will face fourth-seeded Bentley in the second semifinal at the Hart Center at 7:30 p.m.