Fourteen Unanswered Goals Propels Loyola To First-Ever Patriot League Win
WORCESTER, Mass. – Nikko Pontrello scored five of his career-high six goals during a 14-0 Loyola University Maryland run, and the Greyhounds won their first-ever Patriot League contest, 16-4, over host College of the Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon.
Pontrello was one of three Greyhounds (3-1 overall, 1-0 Patriot League) to record career-highs in goals along with Brian Schultz and Kevin Ryan who had three each. Schultz had a career-best seven points, as well with another high of four assists.
Graham Savio won 14-of-18 faceoffs, most coming during the Greyhounds run that spanned four quarters. He also led the Greyhounds with seven ground balls, while Joe Fletcher was credited with six. Jack Runkel made 12 saves in goal for Loyola.
Holy Cross (0-2, 0-1) took a 3-2 lead on a Clay Haarman underhanded goal from in close off a Terry McKenna assist. The score with6:36 to play in the first quarter was the last either team would score in the opening 15 minutes, but it would also be the last for the Crusaders for more than 32 minutes.
Pontrello scored 56 seconds into the second quarter, sparking a 14-0 run for the Greyhounds.
Schultz would score twice in the corner, the first with 13:01 left in the half when Justin Ward initiated the play on the left side. Ward was doubled coming around a screen, but he threw a cross-field pass to Schultz who finished with a hard shot from 10 yards out.
Holy Cross was assessed an illegal body checking penalty on the goal, and Ward used a Jeff Chase feed to bury a 15-yard shot on the extra-man.
Another illegal body check call put Loyola back on man-up, and Ryan dumped in a goal from close in off a Schultz assist at 11:12. Chase tallied the next goal for Loyola after running around a screen and nailing a low left shot from 11 yards out.
Schultz tallied his second of the quarter with 3:38 left in the half in a play sparked on the defensive end. Fletcher knocked a McKenna shot out of midair, picked up the ground ball, ran the clear and got the ball to Ward who found Schultz.
Loyola took an 8-3 lead into the locker room at halftime, but Pontrello kept the run going by scoring four in a row to start the third quarter. Three of the four were assisted, twice by Ward and once Schultz.
Brian Sherlock scored his second of the game with 6:51 left in the third, and Schultz added his third with seven ticks left in the frame.
Ryan scored a pair in the fourth quarter to complete the run before Kevin Lux scored with 4:23 left in regulation, snapping the Crusaders’ at 47 minutes, 13 seconds.
Loyola finished with a 38-16 advantage in ground balls. Sherlock and Kyle Duffy had three a piece in addition to Savio’s seven and Fletcher’s six. The Greyhounds logged a 50-36 advantage in shots.
The Greyhounds play their second Patriot League game in a week when they travel to play No. 15 Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on Saturday, March 1.