WEST POINT, N.Y. — On the strength of four second-period goals, Holy Cross dominated Army Friday night and held on for a 4-1 win.
Though Army led 1-0 after the first, the Crusaders’ relentless forecheck and stellar play of goaltender Matt Ginn eventually proved too much for the Black Knights.
After failing to capitalize on a power-play, Army sustained pressure in Holy Cross’ zone and at the 6:13 mark of the first, opened the scoring. Clint Carlisle sent a cross-ice pass to C.J. Reuschlein, who snapped a shot past Ginn.
“Reuschlein is a goal scorer,” said Army coach Brian Riley. “He wants to be out there and he does great things with puck when he is. I really like how he has been playing so far this season.”
The second period was a different story.
Holy Cross dominated play from shots on goal to checks on the boards. Their efforts resulted in four goals, three scored within five minutes of one another.
At the start of the second, Holy Cross’ aggressive forecheck caused an Army turnover that fell to Cameron Lawson, who rifled a shot past goaltender Rob Tadazak to tie the game at one at the 32-second mark.
Holy Cross continued to dictate play with heavy hits coming from Nick Finn and Tim Driscoll. Army relented in the form of Christian Pomarico’s retaliatory charging penalty at 4:49 of the second. Just 20 seconds into the power play, Jake Bolton blasted a shot that was saved by Tadazak, but Castan Sommer slid in the rebound to put the Crusaders up 2-1 at 5:10 of the second.
Not letting Army catch a breath, Holy Cross kept up the pressure. Ryan McGrath took full advantage of a screened Tadazak and wristed in a low shot from the blue line making the score 3-1 at the 5:34 mark of the second period.
“If it wasn’t for the forwards in front of the net, that shot never goes in,” said McGrath. “They did a fantastic job screening the goalie. All I had to do was get it on net. I got to give all the credit on that one to the forwards.”
In all, the Crusaders outshot the Black Knights 17-6 in the second period. At 8:23 of the second period, McGrath took a slap shot that was blocked by an Army defender and picked up by Sean Gustin, who fired it in to give Holy Cross a comfortable 4-1 lead.
When asked if he was nervous going into the second period down 1-0, Crusaders’ coach Paul Pearl said he wasn’t.
“No, I wasn’t scared,” Pearl said. “I told my guys that we were playing well and we just needed to stay focused and play our game. They are a good team and we knew that we couldn’t let one period get us down.”
After the fourth goal, Riley decided to pull Tadazak and put in backup goaltender Parker Gahagen, who played a solid third period stopping all 14 shots he faced.
“I was really impressed by Parker,” Riley said. “He played great and it was great to see him out there and showing us what he can do.”
Ginn had a solid outing, stopping 20 of 21, including some big saves in the third period and angling Maurice Alverez to hit the post on a breakaway in the third.