Mercyhurst dominates first half in upset victory against No. 4 Tampa
ERIE, Pa. -- Mercyhurst built a big lead early and finished off fourth-ranked Tampa, 14-7, on Saturday. The Lakers led, 9-1, at halftime on their way to a decisive non-conference win.
Mercyhurst dominated the first half, taking a 5-1 advantage after a quarter and then adding four more goals in the second period. Trevor Vargo opened the game with a goal at the 13:47 mark. After a Tampa goal, Brady Heseltine scored and then Ian Brooks found Jake McAndrew for a goal and a 3-1 lead with 10:01 left in the frame. McAndrew followed with an assist to Cory Becker and then Vargo hit Heseltine at the 3:45 mark, putting the Lakers ahead, 5-1, after 15 minutes.
Neither team could score for much of the second period, but the action opened up in the final three minutes. Brandon Thomson scored with 2:43 left and then Mitch McAvoy won the ensuing faceoff and drove in, hitting McAndrew for a goal just six seconds after Thomson's. McAndrew later found Connor Enright for a man-up goal and an 8-1 lead and then Brett Williams set up Heseltine's third goal of the day with one second to go in the half.
The Lakers outshot Tampa, 25-8, in the first half and won 11-12 faceoffs.
Enright began the second half with an assist to Becker with 10:45 remaining in the third. Tampa came back with a pair of goals, but Deven Alves found Thomson for another goal at the 3:02 mark, giving the Lakers an 11-3 margin. The visitors closed the quarter with a goal.
In the fourth, Alves and Thomson connected again with 11:22 showing on the clock. McAndrew then hit Heseltine for a 13-4 lead. The Spartans scored three goals, but James Rogan closed the day with a goal from 30 yards out on an empty net.
McAndrew finished with two goals and three assists. Heseltine tallied four goals and Thomson scored three. Becker had two goals, Enright put up a goal and an assist, and Alves added a pair of helpers. Michael Grace posted 10 saves, including four from point-blank range.
On the day, the Lakers held a 38-33 advantage in shots and won 17-25 faceoffs. They converted 3-6 man-up opportunities and contained Tampa to 0-4 on its extra-man chances.
Mercyhurst improved to 6-2 and Tampa dropped to 11-2.