ERIE, Pa. – No. 1 Mercyhurst rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat No. 11 Saint Michael’s 8-5, in the Lakers’ 2013 home opener at Tullio Field on Sunday afternoon. The Mercyhurst defense shut out the Purple Knights for 37:49 during the middle of the game to seize control.
Saint Michael’s, playing its first game of the season, came out on fire and took a 3-0 lead after one quarter. Goalie Chris DeMairo also made five saves in net to keep the Lakers from scoring.
Mercyhurst began to turn things around in the second period. E.J. Sellie forced a turnover and sent the Lakers on the attack. After an initial shot went high, Brady Heseltine found Zac Reid for a goal with 10:10 left in the half.
The Lakers were able to maintain possession for much of the frame, but several shots went missing, keeping the Knights ahead. Eventually, a Saint Michael’s turnover set up a Lakers score. Goalie Michael Grace started the offense and the ball ended up in Brian Scheetz’s hands. The school’s career points leader hit Heseltine for a goal with 1:15 remaining in the quarter.
The Lakers wasted little time tying the game in the third period, as Patrick Maloney caused a turnover and gave Mercyhurst possession. James Chayka sprinted in and scored from the right side with 12:49 to go. Mercyhurst took the lead after Saint Michael’s was called for slashing. Heseltine hit the post, but Deven Alves grabbed the ball and passed to Brandon Thomson, who scored with 9:49 showing on the clock.
Then Mercyhurst began to add to the lead. Trevor Vargo ended up with the ball. He found Ian Brooks for a goal to make it 5-3 with 4:55 left in the period. With 51 seconds to play, Chayka found the back of the net, putting the Lakers ahead 6-3.
Mitch McAvoy continued his strong faceoff day in the fourth quarter. He won the opening draw and then sprinted in, finding Scheetz for a goal nine seconds into the period. After McAvoy won another faceoff, the Lakers peppered the Knights’ net, with Scheetz scoring with 13:11 remaining. Saint Michael’s scored twice in the fourth, but Mercyhurst had more than enough cushion by that time.
Scheetz led with two goals and an assist. Chayka scored twice and Heseltine had a goal and an assist. Grace made 15 saves in net. McAvoy won 11 of 15 faceoffs, picking up eight ground balls. Pete Donnally paced the Knights with two goals.
Mercyhurst improved to 3-0 in 2013 and now has won 23 consecutive regular-season games. Its regular-season home winning streak now stands at 14 games.