Sports Information Director
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Fresh off their highest ACHA North Division ranking in program history at No. 9, the Holy Cross Saints hockey team wrapped up a home series split with the No. 12 Xavier (Ohio) Musketeers. A late 5-4 loss on Friday evening was rebounded with a 5-4 overtime win on Saturday as the Saints picked up their 10th win of the season. Through 15 games, the Saints sit at 10-5 overall.
The Saints kicked off their series opener on Friday night with the first goal of the game after Nic Mensik (Granger, Ind.) finished off the feed from Ryan Gallup (Fishers, Ind.) to take a 1-0 lead. Xavier would respond late in the period to tie it at 1-1 through the first period.
It was in the second period where the Musketeers took control of the game as they rallied off the first three goals of the period and increased their lead to 4-1. Holy Cross would add two goals of their own in the period, with the last one coming with 2:25 left in the second, and headed to the third period trailing Xavier 4-3.
Six minutes into the third period the Saints tied the game with a breakaway goal from B.J. Kolcz (A) (Marysville, Mich.). With three unanswered goals of their own the Saints were back in the game.
A five-minute major penalty with just over six minutes left to play put the Saints in a difficult spot for the remainder of the game. Despite doing a solid job of keeping the Musketeers out of the net, a rebound with 1:49 left in the game was tapped in to give Xavier the 5-4 advantage.
Still shorthanded, the Saints were unable to tie the game in the final minutes and dropped the series opener to Xavier 5-4.
B.J. Kolcz (A) finished with a team-high two goals. Nic Mensik and Sean Root (Livonia, Mich.) were the other goal scorers for the Saints.
Freshman Devin Nyers (Niles, Mich.) stopped 37-of-42 shots on goal in the game.
Similar to Friday night's opener, the Saints were first to strike in the series finale as Mike Pilcher (St. Louis, Mo.) gave the Saints the early 1-0 lead. Once again, however, Xavier found the back of the net with 19 seconds left in the first period to knot the score at 1-1.
Doni Gendel (A) (South Bend, Ind.) and Tommy Lyons (C) (Valparaiso, Ind.) scored for the Saints in the second period as they increased their lead to 3-1 with just 20 minutes left to play.
The Musketeers answered in the third period to trim the Saints lead to 3-2 before Mike Pilcher netted his second goal of the game to give the Saints a 4-2 lead with 7:40 left in the period.
Two goals from Xavier in the final two minutes, including the tying goal with 27 seconds left in regulation, sent the Saints to overtime for the third time this season. Senior Drew Brodbeck (A) (Stillwater, Minn.) scored the game-winner off the feed in the slot from Kolcz to give the Saints the 5-4 victory and salvage a series split.
Senior goaltender Brad Hajec (Dearborn, Mich.) finished the game with 41 saves.
Holy Cross (10-5) will return home this weekend as they're set to take on Aurora (Blue) University for a weekend series at the Ice Box. Aurora is currently ranked No. 2 in the ACHA Pacific Division. Game one is schedule to begin on Friday at 9:15 p.m. EST.