MILFORD, Conn. – Freshman forwards Nick Lotito (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Jordan Minello (Sweaburg, Ont.) each scored twice Friday night to lead the Sacred Heart men's hockey team past Holy Cross 4-2 at Milford Ice Pavilion.
Lotito got Sacred Heart (8-19-0, 7-13-0 AHA) on the board 1:38 into the game, sneaking a Brian Sheehan (St. Louis, Mo.) pass past Holy Cross goalie Matt Ginn. Minello made the score 2-0 with 8:49 remaining in the first period, finishing off a 2-on-1 breakout and slamming home a Jeff Carroll (Kingston, Ont.) pass. The Pioneers had two opportunities in the first period to make the score 3-0 on the power play, but were held scoreless on four shots. Sacred Heart outshot Holy Cross 12-6 in the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Holy Cross (7-17-3, 6-11-3 AHA) cut the Pioneers' lead to one 2:09 into the second period. Ryan McGrath knocked the rebound of a Brett Lubanski shot past Andrew Bodnarchuk (Saskatoon, Sask.) to make the score 2-1. As quickly as the Crusaders scored, the Pioneers answered. Lotito scored his second goal of the game 1:47 seconds later to make the score 3-1. Sheehan and Evan Jasper (Whitby, Ont.) got assists on the goal, giving Sheehan two points on the night.The Crusaders had a chance to get back within a goal with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:21 in the period, but the Pioneers fought it off to keep the lead. Bodnarchuk fought off a barrage of shots early in the second, as Holy Cross outshot Sacred Heart 11-1 to start the period.
Trailing 3-1 to start the third, the Crusaders once again fired shots at will at the Pioneer net. The Pioneers went on the power play with 14:55 to play in the game, but it was Holy Cross who got on the board. Adam Schmidt picked off a pass at the Holy Cross blueline and took the puck the length of the ice, scoring shorthanded to make the score 3-2 with 14:09 remaining in the game. Holy Cross outshot the Pioneers 21-8 in the final period, but couldn't tie the score. Minello extended the Sacred Heart lead to two, 4-2, with 7:43 remaining as he fired a Justin Danforth (Oshawa, Ont.) pass under Ginn's blocker and into the net.
Holy Cross outshot Sacred Heart 43-31 on Friday night, including a 37-19 edge in the final two periods. Bodnarchuk made 41 saves for the Pioneers as Ginn had 27 for the Crusaders. Sacred Heart was 0-for-6 on the power play, with Holy Cross going 0-for-5.
The two teams will play each other Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass.