March 14, 2008
Atlantic Hockey Tournament Quarterfinal
Lundin, Mercyhurst Silence Sacred Heart

Mercyhurst 4,
Sacred Heart 1
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-MCY Matt Pierce (13) PP
6:16 J. Terminesi, B. Robinson
1-SH Dave Jarman (12) PP
9:13 D. Grimson, B. Trapp

Second Period

2-MCY Cullen Eddy (2) EV
1:58 unassisted
Third Period
3-MCY Ben Cottreau (13) EV
10:14 M. Fennell
4-MCY Chris Risi (6) EV
17:30 K. Medernach, M. Lundin
MCY: Matt Lundin (60:00, 38 svs, 1 GA)
SH: Stefan Drew (60:00, 18 svs, 4 GA)
Penalties: MCY 5/10; SH 6/12
Power Plays: MCY 1-5; SH 1-4

By Ken McMillan

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Mercyhurst can thank goalie Matt Lundin for delivering the Lakers into the Atlantic Hockey semifinals, but he passes the praise to his teammates.

“It’s fun being with these guys, winning and being in the playoffs," Lundin said following a 38-save effort which helped fifth-seeded Mercyhurst topple No. 4 Sacred Heart, 4-1, in the Final Five game played at Blue Cross Arena Friday.

“The team played well," Lundin said. “They blocked a lot of shots. They were working hard in our [defensive] zone. It didn’t seem as bad as it may have looked."

What it looked like was a solid outing worthy of playoff hockey.

“He is the center of our universe," praised Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin. “You don’t get to this point, you don’t get a chance to play tomorrow, you don’t have a chance to win championships unless you absolutely get great goaltending. We call that championship goaltending, and Matt Lundin has supplied that."

Sacred Heart beat him just once, and that was on the power play. The Pioneers threw 11 shots at him in the first period, 10 in the second and 18 more in the third but Lundin blanked them for the final 50-plus minutes.

“They have a hot goalie," said Sacred Heart sniper Alexandre Parent. “He is a big guy [at 6-foot-1]. He comes out really far out of his crease so there’s not much angles to shoot at. We had a lot of shots right on him today."

Lundin started his college career at Maine but was caught in a goalie logjam, first with All-American Jim Howard, then with St. Louis Blues draft pick Ben Bishop. Lundin returned to junior hockey, then transferred to Mercyhurst. His return to the college ranks was short-lived, though, when he got hurt in the season opener against Ohio State. He missed more than a month of action before returning in mid-November.

He has a 2.80 goals against, a .919 save percentage and a 12-11-5 record heading into Saturday's semifinal match against top-seeded Army. Lundin says he wasn’t playing really well at the close of the regular season, but he chalked up the playoffs as an opportunity to start anew.

“I got a fresh start out there and was able to keep the spirits up," he said. “When the team plays great in front of you, you are able to bounce back pretty easily."


Special play: Mercyhurst opened the scoring at 6:16 of the first period on a power-play goal by Matt Pierce, his 13th of the season. Sacred Heart’s Bear Trapp was whistled for a cross check of Nick Vandenbeld only eight seconds earlier. Brett Robinson won the faceoff and got the puck back to Jeff Terminesi on the right point. His shot was tipped in front by Pierce and bounced through the legs of Sacred Heart goalie Stefan Drew.

It was the sixth consecutive game that the Lakers have produced a power play goal. Mercyhurst is converting at 16.3 percent (36 for 221).

“At this time of the year, power play goals and special team goals are key and win you games," said Mercyhurst’s Ben Cottreau. “Whenever we can chip in with a big power play goal, it’s a help."

Time to win a game: Mercyhurst sophomore defenseman Cullen Eddy has seven goals in his college career, but just one game-winner. That came on a second-period play in which Eddy put in some extra effort to break a 1-1 deadlock.

First, he intercepted a clearing attempt by a Sacred Heart defenseman. He went wide and squeezed through a check along the boards to break in on Drew. Eddy knew he wanted to put the puck on net, but he expected one of his forwards to put home a rebound.

“I heard guys calling for the puck, going to the net," Eddy said. “I just threw it to the net. I think it hit the goalie in the skates, and as he went down it went into the back of the net.

“It was nice to see it."

Drew isn’t exactly sure what happened. He started to cheat toward the middle to cover the streaking players coming at him. “I think it hit the inside of my right leg," and went in, he said.

Punch drunk: Sacred Heart coach Shaun Hannah was a bit disappointed his team didn’t respond quickly or effectively following Drew’s goal.

“When we gave up the second goal, I think coming back was a punch," Hannah said. “Really getting back out there and after them … we had done that at times this year but [not] tonight. I really would have liked to see us come back. We got smacked with a right hook; we should have come back with a left."

INCH's Three Stars of the Night

3. Alexandre Parent, Sacred Heart
Okay, he didn’t score on his four shot attempts, but Parent was busy in the final game of his heralded career. Parent worked magic for four years and finishes as the No. 6 point producer in MAAC/AHA history.

2. Cullen Eddy, Mercyhurst
The defenseman is not known as a scoring threat, but he certainly knows what to do with the puck: Get the biscuit to the basket. His extra effort produced a turnover that led the first game-winner of his college career.

1. Matt Lundin, Mercyhurst
Lundin transferred to Mercyhurst just to have an opportunity to lead his team into the playoffs. He’s delivered with three post-season wins this month, the latest a solid 38-save effort. Now he gets a chance to duel Army’s top goalie, Josh Kassel.

With apologies to Lynyrd Skynrd: Army goalie Josh Kassel says he passes breaks in action by singing the lyrics of whatever is playing over the public address system.

Watching Mercyhurst's Matt Lundin tend goal at the start of the third period Friday, you’d think he was performing a little karaoke — “Won’t you give me three minutes, gimme three minutes, mister, and you’ll never see us no more."

Trailing by just one goal, Sacred Heart came out inspired and peppered the Mercyhurst net. Lundin withstood the charge with five saves — including some dazzlers — and his defense blocked three more attempts all in the first 180 seconds.

“We were a little worried," Lundin admits. “We didn’t want to give them a goal right away, and maybe we played nervous. After those three minutes, our team relaxed and went back to our normal playing. I think I can handle three minutes as long as these guys play hard like they did the rest of the game."

That pretty much took the heart out of the Pioneers. It certainly didn’t help when Ben Cottreau scored on a long point shot just as a Mercyhurst power play was coming to a close.

Tiger warmup: A couple dozen home-standing fans of Rochester Institute of Technology came out a day early for the Final Five contest. Clad in RIT’s orange and white, the fans cheered heartily from Section 109 and warmed up their routines for Saturday’s semifinals.

The Tiger fans counted down to the 10-minute mark of the second period and called out their usual “Halftime!” chant. They got an RIT chant going before the outset of the third period. And they taunted every player who headed to the penalty box, and abused each goalkeeper who played in front of them.

Taking one for the team: Sacred Heart goalie Stefan Drew literally had his helmet ripped off on a second-period slap shot by Cullen Eddy. The high shot from the right wing slammed into Drew’s cage and the helmet popped off and landed several feet away. Officials whistled the play dead, and checked on Drew, who appeared uninjured.

We miss the Whalers: The Sacred Heart pep band was on hand. With no media time-outs, the Pioneer pepsters played a whole bunch of abbreviated tunes, often overlapping play when silence is golden, according to NCAA rules. The best moment came late in the third period when, down by two goals, the band whipped up “Brass Bonanza,’’ which everyone knows was the music played every time the old Hartford Whalers scored a goal at the Civic Center.

Alex bids adieu: Sacred Heart captain Alexandre Parent played his final collegiate game, and choked up a bit when asked about it.

“I was just trying to tell the guys that I enjoyed every day of my career, four years here,” he said. “I told them to enjoy it too because it goes by real fast. I mean, I can’t believe it’s over right now.”

Parent posted 141 points in school-record 144 career games. He's the no. 6 point producer in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference/Atlantic Hockey history and no. 3 at Sacred Heart. His 54 goals ranks fifth at the school and 11th in league history. His 87 assists are no. 2 at school and sixth in league annals.

“How do you keep a guy like that off of the ice?” said Sacred Heart coach Shaun Hannah. “He is a tremendous hockey player. The contribution that he made [include] the intangible things he brought to our team like leadership and the commitment to doing things the way you really need to do them. He’s been everything that we needed him to be as a member of our hockey team. We’re proud of what he’s accomplished here and how he represents our hockey program and how he will continue to represent our hockey program.”

Parent was glad he chose Sacred Heart.

“Sacred Heart was a perfect fit for me,” he said. “I went there, got a lot of ice time. They gave me an opportunity to play right away. I just really enjoyed playing every day.

"Coming out of juniors, it was my dream to play Division I hockey. I made it here, and I think I made the most of it.”

Giving it their all: Mercyhurst captain Ben Cottreau is thankful he and his teammates advanced to see another day.

“It’s just one game at a time,” he said. “Just no regrets. That’s what we’re saying in the dressing room: No regrets and leave it all out there.”


There’s only the one play-in game on the first day of the tournament, and Rochester Institute of Technology wasn’t playing in it, but there was still a decent crowd for the opener. The league announced 1,430 — thanks to a pre-sell of about 1,000 tickets — but there was only a couple hundred in attendance.

At least the weather cooperated; last year, a blizzard ruined the Saturday semifinals.

You would think Rochester would have learned its lesson from last year’s poorly promoted tournament. On the morning of the quarterfinal matchup, however, a scan of the Blue Cross Arena website had no mention of the tournament being played. There was a huge announcement of Bruce Springsteen’s sold-out concert from eight days earlier, and a notice for the New York state high school wrestling tournament held last week.

Maybe I’m a stickler, but you don’t line up the teams on the blue lines and leave them waiting for the American and Canadian national anthems while the public address announcer reads several promos.


The Mercyhurst victory sets up a juicy goaltending matchup between Matt Lundin and Army’s Josh Kassel, Atlantic Hockey's most valuable player.

“It’s definitely a lot of fun,” Lundin said of the showdown. “Every goalie in this league is very competitive with each other.”

Army is 13-1-1 in its last 15 games, but that took place after Mercyhurst swept the Black Knights, 3-0 and 4-2, on Jan. 11-12 in Erie, Pa. The Lakers are the only Atlantic Hockey team to sweep Army.

“I kind of forgot that we swept them and I am sure they forgot that we swept them as well,” Lundin said. “It’s a new season. “We’re taking the [playoff wins] and our momentum with us into [the] Army [game]."

Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin was careful not to step on any land mines in his assessment of Army.

“We have a great deal of respect for Army’s program,” Gotkin said. “What they did this year was clearly no accident. The have been good for a couple of years. They are very deserving of the regular-season championship.

“We know we have a daunting task ahead of us…. We have to bounce back, find a way to get good energy and play our game.”

Ken McMillan can be reached at