March 9, 2014

College Wraparound: Holy Cross headed to quarterfinals

By Joshua Kummins

After knocking off RIT, the Crusaders will meet Mercyhurst in the next round of the Atlantic Hockey tournament. (Photo by Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Holy Cross punched its ticket to the Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinals in dramatic fashion.

Freshman forward Mike Barrett scored the game-winning goal just 38 seconds into overtime to lift the eighth-seeded Crusaders (14-20-3) to a 3-2 win over ninth-seeded Rochester Institute of Technology (12-20-5) in the decisive third game of their first-round playoff series at Hart Center.

The Crusaders fell behind by two goals early in the second period, but stormed back with three unanswered goals to clinch a 2-1 series victory and the continuation of their postseason.

The visiting Tigers, which had won five of their seven all-time postseason meetings with the Crusaders entering the night, drew first blood 10:23 into the contest. Senior Elliott Raibl picked a perfect time to score just his second goal of the season, beating Holy Cross junior Matt Ginn on a shot from the slot.

RIT doubled its lead to two goals early in the second period as freshman Danny Smith tallied at the even 3:00 mark. With his seventh goal of the year, Smith ranks second among Tiger rookies to Todd Skirving in point scoring with 13.

Holy Cross staged a furious rally in the shortly thereafter in the second to tie the game. After the Tigers went up 2-0, the home team dominated the rest of the frame with a great territorial edge and 19-6 shots on goal advantage.

Senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt found the back of the net for a team-leading 14th goal of the season at the 4:08 mark of the second, beating RIT freshman and reigning Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week Mike Rotolo.

It did not take long for Holy Cross to tie the score as junior Tommy Dwyer (Ridgefield, Conn.) drove to the net and scored for his sixth goal of the season at 8:37.

In a pretty even third, neither team found the back of the net. Ginn stood tall in the Crusader goal, stopping all 15 shots he saw to keep the game tied.

Before the 1,000-plus fans in attendance were able to sit back in their seats for overtime, Schmidt led a rush clean down the wing, spun on a dime and laid a backhand feed to a streaking Barrett for the winning wrist shot from the low slot.

While the postseason continues for Holy Cross, the road gets tougher as the quarterfinals mean a long trip to Erie, Pa. to oppose top-seeded Mercyhurst. The Lakers won the AHA regular-season title, edging out Bentley by four points.

Dartmouth5, Rensselaer 4

Sophomore Brad Schierhorn’s goal with 2:14 remaining in regulation proved to be the winner as the Big Green (10-18-4) scored three times in the third period to upset the seventh-seeded host Engineers (15-16-6) in a deciding game of the ECAC playoff first round at Houston Field House. RPI held a 4-2 lead at the start of the third, but juniors Eric Neiley and Brandon McNally (Saugus, Mass.) and Schierhorn scored in the frame to lift the Green to victory for the second straight night in an elimination game. The win marks Dartmouth’s first when trailing after 40 minutes since defeating Colgate by the same score on the road Jan. 2, 2012. Junior Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) opened the scoring with his 28th goal of the season just 3:39 into the proceedings for RPI, and added an assist to finish his season with 43 points.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins