Sports Information Director
South Bend, IND. -- The Holy Cross Saints hockey team took to the ice over the weekend to take on the Robert Morris University Eagles. After a dramatic game on Friday where the Saints picked up the 4-3 win in a shootout, 19 penalties gave the Saints trouble as they fell to the Eagles 7-3. With the series split, the Saints improve to 6-2 on the season.
"It was a huge split for us this weekend," said first year head coach T.J. Lyons. "We played a rather clean game on Friday and were able to get a big shootout win. Penalties hurt us on Saturday and we weren't able to recover from being down a man for the majority of the game. Overall, it was a big weekend for us to split with a team that finished above us in the North Division last season."
Friday's series opener was one of the more exciting hockey games you will see.
After the first two periods, the game was still scoreless. This is the first time in recent memory that a Saints hockey game had gone 40 minutes without a goal being scored.
With the third period underway, the Saints were first to find the back of the net as Mike Pilcher (St. Louis, Mo.) netted the first goal of the game to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.
Following Pilcher's goal, B.J. Kolcz (A) (Marysville, Mich.) finished off a rebound in front of the net to make it a 2-0 advantage.
We now had the stereotypical "the worst lead is a two-goal lead" in hockey on our hands. Just like that, Robert Morris responded with their first goal of the game after a shot from the point was re-directed in on the power play to cut the Saints lead to 2-1.
The Eagles were resilient for the rest of the game, continuing to put pressure on Saints freshman goaltender Devin Nyers (Niles, Mich.). With 8:46 left in the third period, Robert Morris scored the equalizing goal to lock the score at 2-2.
With the clock winding down, opportunities were becoming of the essence; the Saints found one to capitalize on when Alex Haygood (South Bend, Ind.) took the puck down the left side of the ice and finished top-shelf to give the Saints 3-2 lead with 1:06 to play.
Despite pulling ahead with just over a minute left in the game, troubles loomed for the Saints.
With their goalie pulled and the extra skater on the ice, Robert Morris was able to capitalize on a Holy Cross miscue after they failed to clear the puck out of the zone. The Eagles scored the tying goal with 18 seconds left and drew a Saints penalty.
The clock ran out in regulation with the score tied at 3-3, but the Saints had to begin the 4-on-4 overtime period a man down for more than a minute.
After killing off the penalty, the Saints did their best to generate some offense. With such little time left on the clock, no real chances were made for either team and we were headed to a shootout.
The best-of-3 format shootout was nothing new to the Saints, as they had already been in that position earlier this season.
Robert Morris had elected to go first. Devin Nyers continued his impressive game by stopping both shooters for the Eagles.
Alex Haygood got the Saints off on the right foot after scoring five-hole on his first shot attempt.
Finally, B.J. Kolcz (A) ended the game for the Saints after a nifty move where he finished with the backhand top-shelf to give the Saints the 4-3 victory.
"It was a great team win," Lyons said regarding the shootout victory. "Every player did a great job of being productive on the ice. Devin was big for us again once again, especially during the shootout. It was a great win for our team."
Devin Nyers finished the game with 39 saves.
Saturday's series finale was a tough and physical game.
With just over a minute into the start of the game, Robert Morris came out and scored to put the pressure on the Saints. Halfway through the period, Drew Brodbeck (A) (Stillwater, Minn.) tied the game on the power play.
The game was tied at 1-1 through the first period.
Consecutive penalties for the Saints gave Robert Morris a 5-on-3 power play in the second period. The Eagles capitalized with the advantage and scored two power play goals to take a 3-1 lead.
A goal from freshman Nick Wink (Western Springs, Ill.) cut the Eagles lead to 3-2 in the second period. Following the goal from Wink, the penalties started to pick up for the Saints.
The Eagles took advantage of the penalty-laden Saints in the second period and increased their lead to 5-2.
In the third period, the lead was extended to 7-2 before B.J. Kolcz (A) scored the final goal of the game with 7:20 left in the third.
The Saints dropped the series finale 7-3, their first home loss of the season.
Five of the seven goals by Robert Morris were scored on the power play and four of those five were on 5-on-3 penalties.
"It's tough to win when you have as many penalties as we did," continued Lyons. "I thought we played really well with them 5-on-5, but unfortunately penalties really hurt us."
Brad Hajec (Dearborn, Mich.) finished the game with 35 saves.
The Saints (6-2) will hit the road for a weekend series against the University of Michigan-Flint. The series will begin on Friday, October 18 at 8:00 p.m. EST.