THE BIG STORY
|Pierre Luc O'Brien had a
hat trick to lead Sacred Heart to an improbable
comeback win over Mercyhurst. It was one of several
close games played around the nation over the weekend.
It was a close-shave weekend, with 15
overtime games and 18 one-goal affairs. And while the
best game of the weekend fit both criteria, Saturday’s
Mercyhurst-Sacred Heart contest likely registered little
more than a blip on the radar screens of most hockey
fans. Which is too bad, because it’s earned a
place as one of the most thrilling finishes in recent
For those of you who don’t scour
box scores religiously, here’s the premise. Mercyhurst,
which dropped a 6-4 decision to Sacred Heart the previous
night, appeared to be well on its way to a series split
when senior Scott Champagne scored a power-play goal
with 6:33 left in regulation to give the Lakers a 4-0
Then it happened.
With 4:03 left in the third, Sacred Heart’s
Pierre Luc O’Brien scored on the power play to
narrow the lead to 4-1. The Pioneers then closed the
gap to 4-2 on an Eric Giosa goal with 1:56 remaining.
O’Brien added his second PPG of the game with
90 seconds on the clock to trim the Laker lead to 4-3.
Then, with 13 seconds left and goaltender Jason Smith
pulled for an extra attacker, O’Brien scored his
third goal of the night — and fifth of the weekend
— to send the game into overtime.
In OT, Mercyhurst’s Cody Collins
was whistled for tripping at 1:47. Three seconds before
the power play was to expire, Sacred Heart’s Alexandre
Parent scored to give the Pioneers an improbable 5-4
triumph. That’s five goals over 7:47 of the third
period and overtime to turn a four-goal deficit into
If North Dakota freshman goaltender Anthony
(Don’t Call Me Richard) Grieco keeps improving
like this from week to week, injured ‘keeper Philippe
Lamoureux could become the Fighting Sioux’s version
of Wally Pipp.
Grieco, a 17-year-old freshman —
he’ll turn 18 the Monday after Thanksgiving —
allowed just three goals on 56 shots against St. Cloud
State in Grand Forks this weekend, outdueling heralded
Huskies’ netminder Bobby Goepfert as NoDak took
three of four possible points in the WCHA series.
Had Jordan Parise not signed with the
New Jersey Devils over the summer, Grieco would still
be stopping pucks in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey
League. But Parise’s departure and Lamoureux’s
mystery ailment has thrust the Brampton, Ontario, native
into the spotlight, and he’s played pretty well,
posting a 3-0-1 record, a 2.94 goals against average
and a .902 save percentage in his four starts.
From The Thank You For Your Support Dept.:
Informed that Michigan was having a “maize-out”
for its game against Michigan State at Yost Ice Arena
Saturday, Spartan coach Rick Comley — whose team
played in front of less-than-capacity crowds in East
Lansing so far this season — said on his weekly
radio show, “Before we have a ‘white-out’
or a ‘green-out’ we need a ‘fill-out.’”
Wins this past weekend that'll look good in March
That Alaska, which has traditionally struggled
away from home, took three of four points from Nebraska-Omaha
in its first road series of the season certainly bodes
well for the Nanooks. The series with the Mavericks
kicked off an NHL-esque four-game, 10-day trip that
ends this coming weekend in Marquette, Mich., against
Northern Michigan. The Nanooks are versatile enough
to win by outscoring teams, which is what they did in
the win and tie at UNO, or by relying on a solid goaltending
duo of sophomore Chad Johnson and junior Wylie Rogers
to shut opponents down. If they can find consistency
on the road and continue the strong play in Fairbanks,
the Nanooks could find themselves on the verge of an
NCAA Tournament berth.
IT HAPPENED IN ...
… Omaha, Neb. (Friday):
A rarity in the series opener between Alaska and Nebraska-Omaha,
as neither team’s starting goalie finished the
5-5 tie. The Nanooks’ Chad Johnson was yanked
midway through the game after allowing four goals on
15 shots, and UNO goalie Jerad Kaufman got the hook
a little more than three minutes into the second period
after giving up four goals on 14 shots.
… Duluth, Minn.:
Fans on both sides of the rivalry between Minnesota
and Minnesota Duluth will argue about Friday’s
game, a 3-2 Gopher win, for years. Specifically, the
Bulldogs’ Bryan McGregor appeared to tie the game
at 1 in the first period when he beat goalie Kellen
Briggs on a breakaway after taking the ice once a minor
penalty to teammate Drew Akins expired, but referee
Don Adam disallowed the goal and assessed UMD a bench
minor for too many men on the ice after determining
that McGregor jumped onto the ice too soon. Saturday,
Minnesota senior Tyler Hirsch scored 49 seconds into
overtime, giving the Gophs a second straight 3-2 decision.
… Providence, R.I. (Friday):
Evan Barlow’s second goal of the game came just
23 seconds after a game-tying goal by Brown’s
Matt Vokes early in the third period, and Cornell held
on to beat the host Bears.
… Troy, N.Y. (Friday):
Princeton’s Kevin Westgarth forced overtime at
Rensselaer by scoring with 40 seconds left in regulation,
but Seth Klerer’s goal with 13 seconds remaining
in overtime gave the Engineers a 4-3 victory. Jordan
Alford made 36 saves for RPI.
… Anchorage: Where
have we seen this before? With goaltender Nathan Lawson
pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Paul Crowder scored
with 32 second left in the third period to send the
Seawolves’ game with Wisconsin into OT, only to
see the Badgers take a 3-2 win on Matt Ford’s
game-winner with 1:30 remaining in the extra frame.
Lawson earned the win in goal Saturday, outdueling Brian
Elliott in UAA’s 2-1 win.
… Chestnut Hill, Mass. (Saturday):
Cory Schneider rebounded from a loss to Providence earlier
in the week by making 33 saves and Nathan Gerbe scored
his fifth goal of the season as Boston College blanked
… Boston (Saturday):
Boston University fought back from a 2-0 first-period
deficit and ended Maine’s seven-game winning streak
with a 2-2 tie at Agganis Arena. Both Terrier goals
came in the second period.
… Mankato, Minn.:
Juniors Matt Climie and Orlando Alamando helped Bemidji
State sweep Minnesota State in a non-conference series.
Climie and Alamando replaced senior Layne Sedevie —
the Bemidji Pioneer reported Friday that Sedevie was
scheduled to see a neurologist in his hometown of Bismarck,
N.D., this weekend. The article indicated that Sedevie’s
career may be over.