BOSTON — Gianni Baldassari led the Holy Cross Crusaders in their 4-3 overtime victory against the Northeastern Huskies at Matthews Arena Friday night in front of a crowd of 1,874.
Wade Macleod also notched two goals for Northeastern.
“Anything happens when you get to overtime,” said Holy Cross Head Coach Paul Pearl. “We got lucky when the puck bounces off someone else and ends up in the slot. Then we get the puck and buried it. These types of wins against excellent teams really build up the confidence.”
The Crusaders were the first to score two-and-a-half minutes into the first period when Rob Linsmayer found Kyle Fletcher in front of the left side of the net. Fletcher sent a quick tap past Northeastern goalie Chris Rawlings to give his team a 1-0 lead and pick up his second goal of the season.
Holy Cross surrendered three penalties in the first period, one of which awarded the Huskies with their first goal. Just under four minutes after his team scored, Matthew Davis was sent off the ice for tripping.
On their power play, Brodie Reid brought the puck into the attack zone and found Anthony Bitetto between the circles. Bitetto sent a pass across the right circle to Wade MacLeod, who then shot past Holy Cross netminder Thomas Tysowsky.
MacLeod’s work wasn’t finished in the first period. Five minutes after his first goal, he sent another puck from the same area past Tysowsky to put the Huskies up 2-1. The goals mark MacLeod’s first two goals of the season. Steve Silva also picked up his second season assist.
Eight seconds into the second period, the Crusaders evened the score at two thanks to a shorthanded goal by Gianni Baldassari. Baldassari received the puck on a pass from Linsmayer after winning the face off. The goal is Baldassari’s second of the season. Linsmayer picked up his second assist of the night.
“I thought it was huge to score at the beginning of the second period,” said Pearl. “I thought we carried the first 10 or 12 minutes of the game and then they really took it to us there in minutes 13 through 20. We really needed to score early in the second to change the momentum.”
The Huskies were awarded 1:20 of a 5-on-3 power play as Everett Sheen served the remainder of his penalty from the previous period and Linsmayer was sent off the ice for hooking. Northeastern, however, was unable to capitalize on the advantage.
Still, the Huskies notched another goal 10 minutes later as Steve Silva sent a shot from the top of the circles into the Crusaders’ net. Drew Ellement and Tyler McNeely both picked up helpers on the play too.
With five minutes to go in the second, Cory Ferriero was sent off the ice for cross-checking, giving Holy Cross a one-man advantage. Twenty seconds into their power play, Matt Clune fired a rocket from the blue line past Rawlings to even the score at three.
Over half of the third period went by without a score or a penalty. At 10:55 Matt Gordon took a seat in the Crusader penalty box for tripping. The Huskies gained control of the puck and fired 12 shots, nearly doubling their entire shot total for the entire game. Jamie Oleksiak and Steve Quailed both had pipes in the final minutes of the period, but were unsuccessful in breaking the stalemate and the game was sent into extra minutes.
Only one shot was fired off between both teams in overtime, but one was enough for the Crusaders. At 1:21, Baldassari’s stick found the puck in a frenzy of players in front of the NU goal. He tapped the puck past Rawlings, giving Holy Cross the win and their first victory over Northeastern with varsity team status.
“We didn’t do little things right, right down to face-offs,” said Northeastern Head Coach Greg Cronin. “Holy Cross deserved it. I was impressed with them. Paul [Pearl] did a great job.”
Northeastern will look for their second win of the season as they host Bentley College Saturday night at Matthews Arena at 7 p.m. Holy Cross hosts Robert Morris for a pair of games next weekend, November 5 and 6. The games start at 7 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.