WORCESTER, Mass. — In a back and forth affair at the Hart Center, Sacred Heart needed a late empty-net goal from Erik Boisvert to take the victory, 5-4, over the Holy Cross Crusaders and earn a split of the weekend home-and-home series between the two clubs.
Sacred Heart found themselves up early in the first period when Patrick Knowlton netted his second goal of the season. Matt Gingera was able to slide a pass from a tough angle deep in the Crusaders’ zone and found Knowlton wide open in front. Knowlton completed the play by sending it in past the dive of Holy Cross netminder Thomas Tysowsky.
Things changed from then on though, as the Crusaders mounted a furious offensive attack which led to 18 total shots in the first period. However, the Crusaders could only muster one goal past Pioneers’ goalie Steven Legatto. The goal came off a great individual effort from Rob Linsmayer setting up Jordan Cyr, who picked up his first of two goals on the night.
Holy Cross gained a lead early in the second period when Luke Miller scrapped and deposited a loose puck in front of Legatto to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead. The lead lasted just seven minutes, as Boisvert picked the top corner 9:47 into the period tying the score once again, this time at two apiece.
With the pressure mounting against Holy Cross, the Crusaders took a penalty in their own zone which put Sacred Heart on the power play for the first time on the night. However, Jordan Cyr quickly changed the momentum, as he took a long outlet pass from defensemen Mike Daly, walked in all alone, and beat Legatto, giving the Crusaders the edge once again, 3-2. The short-handed goal was Cyr’s team-leading fifth of the season.
Two minutes later, the Pioneers tied the game at three, as Dave Berube muscled one past Tysowsky on the power play.
Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl was pleased with the offensive night for the Crusaders.
“I thought we played tremendous offensively, but for whatever reason, we slipped a little bit on our defensive end,” said Pearl. “Sacred Heart was great on the forecheck, and we cannot always rely on the offense to make plays. The defense needs to be there consistently for us.”
Just four minutes into the third period, the Pioneers took the lead for good, as Reid McLeod redirected a Paul Ferraro blast from the point. Boisvert added the empty-net tally with 57 seconds remaining to make the score 5-3.
It turned out to be the game-winner though, as Brendan Baker let a slap shot fly from the point that found its way through traffic and past Legatto with three seconds remaining.
Pioneers coach C.J. Marottolo, who took over for former head coach Shaun Hannah just before the season began, felt that Legatto was the key for the Pioneers victory.
“He was really terrific all weekend,” Marottolo said. “This was the first night I’ve played him on back-to-back nights and he responded nicely. He challenges shooters, and I thought he stayed poised in the net despite giving up some goals tonight.”
Legatto turned aside 37 Crusaders’ shots, including a five-minute spurt in the first period when he made six consecutive glove saves.
With the win, Sacred Heart evens its record at 3-3-1 overall, 2-1 in the AHA. They travel to Bentley next weekend to take on the Falcons. Holy Cross drops its record to 3-4-1 overall, 3-2-1 in the AHA, and welcomes the Air Force Falcons to Worcester next week for the first two-game home series the Crusaders have this season.