Top-Ranked Mercyhurst Holds off No. 10 Pfeiffer

MISENHEIMER, N.C. - Zac Reid's (St. Catharines, Ontario) goal with 5:54 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner as Mercyhurst, ranked #1 in the latest USILA Coaches Poll, held off host and 10th-ranked Pfeiffer 9-8 in thrilling action on Saturday afternoon. The Lakers improve to 2-0 on the year with the win while the Falcons, who had a final shot at the buzzer to send the contest into overtime, suffer their first loss dropping to 4-1.

A quiet, one-goal first quarter saw the Falcons strike first with 4:52 remaining in the period as James Shepherd (St. John, New Brunswick) found Mike Triolo (Toronto, Ontario) on the doorstep for the game's first tally. Both offensive would awaken in the second quarter as Mercyhurst scored five times to Pfeiffer's three carrying a slim 5-4 lead into the half.

The Lakers would score the first three goals on the second as Mitch McAvoy (Sherwood Park, Alberta) tied the contest just six second into the period while Reid put the visitors on top with his first of the day with 13:19 remaining. After Brady Heseltine (Elora, Ontario) put the Lakers up 3-1, Shepherd would respond for the Falcons as Robert Hope (Peterborough, Ontario) found the junior in front of the net slicing the deficit down to one.

Mercyhurst responded with a Trevor Vargo (Orchard Park, NY) goal five minutes later to regain a two-goal advantage before Pfeiffer's Cole Sheen (Edmonton, ALBERTA) recorded a man-up goal 51 seconds later to get the Falcons back to within one. Just 43 seconds after Sheen's strike, Shepherd would notch the equalizer for a 4-4 contest before a man-up goal for Heseltine gave Mercyhurst their one-goal halftime lead.

Spencer Allen (St. Catharines, Ontario) opened up the third quarter with a goal 4:01 that squared the match-up at five-all before the Lakers again responded with a Brian Scheetz (Canandaigua, NY) goal just 1:04 later. Pfeiffer would get the last third quarter laugh and get a huge momentum boost headed to the fourth as freshman Matt Michaeli (Draper, UT) scored unassisted with 0.8 seconds left to tie the contest at 6-6 going to the final 15 minutes.

Mercyhurst would get momentum back on their side with Heseltine and James Chayka (Syracuse, NY) goals within the first 3:13 of the fourth before Steven Tilmon (Orlando, FL) brought the hosts back to within one with an unassisted strike with 9:54 remaining.

Reid would then hit with the eventual game-winner with 5:54 left while Kory Lutes (Orlando, FL) gave Pfeiffer hope with 2:25 remaining after an assist from Allen. Pfeiffer would have one final chance getting the ball back after a Mercyhurst turnover with 49 seconds left. Lutes would fire just wide with five ticks remaining while a final blast by Tilmon was turned aside by the Lakers Michael Grace (Warwick, NY) as the horn sounded to end the contest.

Grace would make six saves in net for Mercyhurst while Hayden Kirk (Farmingdale, NY) stopped eight shots for the Falcons. Heseltine led all scorers with three goals on the day while Reid and Shepherd managed two apiece for their respective squads. Mercyhurst held a slight advantage in shots overall at 28-26 while corralling 28 groundballs to Pfeiffer's 20. The Lakers grabbed 12 of the 20 faceoffs while being perfect on clears at 16 for 16.

Pfeiffer will get back to action on Thursday hosting Colorado Mesa at 3:00 p.m. from N.E. Lefko Field.

2013-03-02



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