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Holy Cross defeats Canisius hockey in season opener


Gestro_Logan action vs SHUI 11-4-17
WORCESTER, M.A. -- Mitch Collett tallied two goals and Tommy Nixon made 30 saves to pace Holy Cross in a 4-2 victory over Canisius in Atlantic Hockey Association action at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass.
In the season opener for both schools, Peter Crinella and Neil Robinson also scored for the Crusaders while Anthony Vincent tallied two assists.
Sophomore Logan Gestro and junior Nick Hutchisonfound the back of the net for the Golden Griffins while sophomore Tucker Weppner stopped 16 shots for Canisius in his collegiate debut.
Crinella opened the scoring with 2:05 remaining in the opening period when he beat Weppner with a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle after teammate Matt Berry won the puck back to him on a draw in the Griffs zone.
Holy Cross doubled its lead to 2-0 less than four minutes into the second period as Collett blocked a shot during a delayed penalty situation that slid the length of the ice and into the vacated Canisius goal.  
Gestro cut the Griffs deficit in half at the 12:53 mark of the second when he threw a shot from the left side wall that found its way past Nixon and into the net.
Robinson restored Holy Cross' two-goal cushion just 40 seconds later, using a turnover deep in the Canisius zone to get behind the Griffs defense before placing a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net from the bottom of the slot.
Hutchison pulled Canisius within one with 7:10 elapsed in the third, tipping a point shot from senior Jimmy Mazzapast Nixon from the top of the crease.
The Griffs kept the pressure on the Crusaders as they pushed for an equalizer, but Holy Cross maintained its one-goal edge until Collett closed out the scoring with an empty-net tally with 1:14 to play.  
Head Coach Trevor Large's Postgame Comments
"We're not results driven right now. We're concentrating on getting better. There were a lot of positives we can take from tonight's contest. We had the puck a lot. We obviously need to find a way to score more goals and keep the puck out of our net.
"I really like our skill. Our guys have the confidence to make plays and they know that the coaching believes in their skill and ability, so if they see something and it's an open guy and an extra pass, we promote that. I felt we drifted away in terms of a net-front presence at times tonight and we'll remedy that. The guys will see that on film and we will be around the net more and we'll reap the benefit.
"I was extremely happy with Tucker (Weppner) tonight. He made some big saves in some big moments, one in particular late in the second period that I thought was huge for us. I thought he battled really hard all night."
Game Notes
• Holy Cross extended its lead in the all-time series to 32-19-10 with Friday's victory. The loss was just Canisius' second in their last seven contests against the Crusaders at the Hart Center dating back to the 2013-14 season (4-2-1).
• Canisius out-shot Holy Cross by a 32-20 margin, highlighted by a 12-7 edge in the second period.
• The Griffs were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Crusaders were 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
• Gestro recorded his second career goal with his tally in the second period. Both of his goals have come against Holy Cross.
• Hutchison recorded the 15th power-play goal of his career with his third-period marker.
• Weppner, fellow sophomore Austin Alger and freshmen David Baskerville and Lee Lapid all made their Canisius debuts in the contest.
Up Next
Canisius and Holy Cross complete their season-opening series Saturday with a 5 p.m. matinee at the Hart Center.

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