Atlantic Hockey: Berrafato stops 27 in Holy Cross shutout of RIT


ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Tonight’s Holy Cross 4-0 win over host Rochester Institute of Technology had a decidedly Western New York feel.

Crusaders goaltender Paul Berrafato, a Buffalo native, stopped all 27 shots he faced for his sixth career shutout. That and a goal by Rochester native Johnny Coughlin, whose first-period marker turned out to be the game-winner, paced the Crusaders to the victory, extending their unbeaten streak at the Polisseni Center to 3-0-2.

“I think I had to get like 20 tickets for tonight,” said Berrafato. “It was really good environment and a fun experience.”

“Coming home for (Coughlin), and to score the first goal, that was great,” said Holy Cross coach Dave Berard. “I think there was somebody in a Coughlin jersey right behind the net when he scored. And Pauly (Berrafato) always has people in the stands when we come to Canisius and Niagara and Rochester.”

Coughlin’s goal came on the Crusaders’ first power-play opportunity of the evening, with 32 seconds remaining in the first period. He one-timed a feed from Danny Lopez, beating RIT goalie Mike Rotolo through the legs to make it 1-0.

“The first period (RIT) had a lot of possession,” said Berard. “When you come here, you know they’re going to play that way; they’re really aggressive. We weathered the storm and got that big power-play goal by Johnny (Coughlin).”

Each team had some big chances in the second period, but both goaltenders were up to the task, and it remained a 1-0 game until the Crusaders broke things open with a pair of goals within an 18-second span early in the third.

Scott Pooley made it 2-0 Holy Cross with his ninth goal of the season, wristing a shot past Rotolo’s glove at 4:41. Brett Mulcahy cashed in at 4:59 to put the game out of reach.

Mike Barrett finished the scoring at 9:18, converting on some nice passing by defensemen Spencer Trapp and Charlie Barrow.

Holy Cross improved to 9-0-1 this season when scoring the first goal.

“I liked how we kept things up in the second period, and then carried it into the third when we were able to cash in,” said Berard.

“We’re getting great defensive efforts in front of me,” said Berrafato, who posted his third shutout of the season. “Everyone is playing great and we’re looking to keep things going.”

“It was a good team win,” said Berard. “I’ve been telling our guys all week, RIT’s the premier team in the league. They’ve won the championship the last two years, and the championship is going to go through them. Whatever their record, you’re going to have to beat them. It was a good effort by our team.”

RIT is now 1-6 in its last seven games, including five straight losses at home. The teams conclude their season series tomorrow.

Atlantic Hockey roundup

No. 20 Air Force 5, American International 0
Shane Starrett stopped all 17 shots he faced for his sixth career shutout and second of the season. A.J. Reid had a pair of goals for the No. 20 Falcons, who have won five straight and moved into a first-place tie with Canisius.

Bentley 3, at Robert Morris 0
Bentley goaltender Aiden Pelino recorded his first career shutout, making 28 saves. The Falcons scored twice in a 1:06 span in the second period, and then added an empty-net goal to seal the victory. Drew Callin had two of the three Bentley goals, his sixth and seventh of the season.

Army West Point 6, Niagara 1
Niagara opened the scoring, but the Black Knights scored six unanswered goals, including five in the second period. Brendan Soucie had a pair of goals for Army West Point, which halted a four-game winless streak. Three Niagara goalies combined for 42 saves as the Black Knights outshot the Purple Eagles 48-23.

Canisius 2, at Sacred Heart 2
Cameron Heath scored an extra-attacker goal to tie the game for Canisius with 1:19 to play, completing a rally from a two-goal third-period deficit. Sacred Heart goaltender Brett Magnus made 29 saves while his counterpart Charles Williams stopped 22 shots. Canisius extended its unbeaten streak to 11 games, longest in the nation