Heseltine's OT goal finishes comeback as No. 1 Mercyhurst beats Lake Erie
ERIE, Pa. -- Brady Heseltine scored with 1:47 left in overtime, lifting the No. 1 Mercyhurst to a 10-9 win against No. 9 Lake Erie in an NCAA Division II tournament quarterfinal Saturday at Tullio Field. The Lakers rallied from a 9-7, fourth-quarter deficit to survive and advance.
Mercyhurst (17-0) will now play host to No. 2 Limestone in an NCAA semifinal on May 18. The Saints beat Seton Hill 16-13. Lake Erie dropped to 12-5.
On Saturday, Reagan Harding scored with 12:31 remaining in the fourth period, giving Lake Erie a 9-7 advantage. The Lakers then began the slow climb back. With 8:24 to go, Brian Scheetz found Jake McAndrew for his first goal of the game. Mitch McAvoy won the ensuing faceoff, setting up a key possession. The hosts tried three shots, but LEC goalie Tom Lipomi saved two and the other went wide. With 5:06 left, the Storm were called for an offside penalty. Seventeen seconds later, Brandon Thomson assisted on a Cory Becker goal, tying the contest at 9.
Each team had several chances as time ran out in regulation, but the defenses held, sending the match into overtime. Bill Desiderio seemed to have an edge on the opening faceoff, but McAvoy swatted the ball loose, allowing James Chayka to grab the ground ball. Two Lakers shots were blocked as LEC gained possession. The Storm were quickly called for a substitution infraction. Mercyhurst attempted two shots, but each went wide.
Chayka eventually moved to his right and then passed to Scheetz, who was behind the net. Scheetz, the school's career assists leader, quickly redirected the ball to Heseltine, who scored on a diving shot from three yards out. The goal sent the Tullio Field crowd of 783 into pandemonium and put the Lakers back in the national semifinals for the third consecutive season.
Keegan Bal got the Storm started, scoring with 9:22 in the first frame. Harding followed with a goal for a 2-0 lead less than two minutes later. McAvoy won the next draw and sprinted in, finding Scheetz for a top-shelf score. Lake Erie responded with a goal at the 6:19 mark, regaining a two-goal margin. Heseltine found the back of the net with 4:12 to play, but a late turnover allowed the Storm to score with three seconds left, taking a 4-2 advantage in the process.
McAvoy won the second-quarter faceoff and went straight in, scoring eight seconds in to cut the deficit again. Ian Brooks scored with 11:16 remaining, tying the match for the first time. With 9:53 to go in the half, Scheetz hit Heseltine for a 5-4 edge. LEC answered with another goal less than a minute later. Brooks put the Lakers back on top with 4:51 showing, but Harding scored again, sending the match into the half even at 6.
Lake Erie had a strong start in the second half, as well, scoring twice to take an 8-6 lead with 7:31 left. Trevor Vargo assisted on a Thomson score at the 5:35 mark, inching the Lakers closer. Harding then opened the fourth-quarter scoring, but Mercyhurst shut out the Storm for the final 14:44 of action.
Scheetz led with a goal and three assists, while Heseltine had a hat trick. Brooks came up with two goals and McAvoy had a goal and an assist while winning 14 of 20 faceoffs. Thomson had a goal and a helper. Michael Grace recorded nine saves in net. Lipomi made 13 saves for Lake Erie.
The Lakers tried 48 shots, compared to 31 for LEC. Mercyhurst grabbed 30 ground balls and won 15 of 23 faceoffs.