Saint John's vs. Holy Cross
February 20, 2010
The Game Story:
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's used a hat trick by sophomore Harry Kutner and several late defensive stops to defeat Holy Cross, 9-8, in both teams' season openers on Saturday.

The Red Storm defeated the Crusaders for the third time in four years, as a crowd of 975 fans turned out on a sunny afternoon to see the renovated DaSilva Memorial Field and the 2010 Red Storm.

St. John's held the edge in every statistical category as the Red Storm collected 30 ground balls to the Crusaders' 19 and won 12 out of 20 faceoffs. The Red Storm also outshot Holy Cross 41-32.

Even though St. John's held four-goal leads at several occasions throughout the game, Holy Cross was able to pull close and had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation. However, the Red Storm defense and senior goalkeeper Gavin Buckley stepped up to turn away multiple Crusader scoring chances in the final two minutes.

"I told the guys all week that we were going to have a battle on our hands," said head coach Jason Miller. "They fought hard and kept battling the whole way, and I am really proud of them. They made some big stops down the stretch to preserve it."

After Chris Smirti gave Holy Cross a 1-0 lead with 4:52 left in the first period, freshman Jordan Rothman took the faceoff straight down the field and tied the score with an unassisted goal. The Red Storm did not trail for the rest of the contest. Rothman took every faceoff for the Red Storm, winning 60-percent of them.

Holy Cross defender John Rapport was tagged with an unnecessary roughness penalty on Rothman's goal and St. John's was able to capitalize, as Kutner scored his first of three goals on the man-up opportunity. An unassisted goal from freshman Brandon Ayers with 35 seconds left in the first period gave St. John's a 3-1 lead.

The Red Storm didn't waste time getting back to the offensive end when senior Garrett Mitchell found the back of the net just a minute and a half into the second period. Mitchell finished with two goals on the game.

Edison Parzanese, playing in his first game for the Crusaders after missing part of last season to injury, helped bring Holy Cross close with an unassisted goal and then set up teammate James Kennedy for the goal that brought the score to 4-3.

St. John's sophomore Matt Hurst scored a goal at 6:26 in the second with an assist from senior Tom Manes to help break the Crusader scoring run. Kutner added two goals at the end of the half to give St. John's a 7-3 lead.

After Holy Cross attacker Chris Smirti cut the lead to 7-4 in the third period, Red Storm attacker Terence Leach used a man-up opportunity to score his first goal since being injured halfway through the 2009 season. Sophomore Charlie Holenstein recorded his first career assist on the play.

The Crusaders responded by going on a 4-1 scoring run, with two goals coming from Kennedy and two from Kenny Minor, to bring the score to 9-8 with 2:40 left. Kennedy finished with three goals and one assist for the Holy Cross.

However, Buckley was able to make several key saves within the final two minutes, including one with under ten seconds left. Buckley finished with 12 saves on the day.

St. John's will take to the road for a month before returning to face the University of Vermont at DaSilva Memorial Field on March 20. Next week, the Red Storm travels to Colorado to take on the Air Force Academy. Game time is slated for 3 p.m. ET.