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Second Period Surge Leads Lancers Past St. Francis

Fifth-seed St. Mary’s scored three goals in a 72-second span in the second period to turn the game around and posted a 5-3 win over the fourth-seeded Red Raiders on Thursday night at Harbor Center.

“One goal, that’s what we needed,” St. Mary’s head coach Mark Dantonio said. “We just talked about getting something to get us going. Once we got that, we got going.”

Sophomore Brendan Krawczyk got the Lancers on the board with 3:23 left in the second period, junior Zach Micholas scored another 37 seconds later and just 35 seconds after that, sophomore Daniel Pfalzer gave the Lancers the lead for good.

“We’re a team of heart,” Krawczyk said. “So once we got one goal, we start going. Then we rolled.”

The Lancers advance to face top-seed Canisius on Monday at 6 p.m. back at Harbor Center. St. Mary’s has never beaten the Crusaders on the ice – but as usual for the proud small school, the Lancers will embrace the challenge.

We’re going to have to work for it,” Pfalzer said. “They have a lot more players than us but we’re going to have to dig deep and find a way to win.”

St. Francis scored the only first period goal in Thursday’s semifinal off the stick of Cullen Roll. Jack Kernitz made it 2-0 for the Red Raiders in the second period but that’s when the Lancers started to battle back.

The Lancers responded with the big-time second-period rally and then entered the second perod with a mission.

“We came into the locker room and just decided, we’re going to win the game,” Pfalzer said. ” We have three seniors that have done a lot for this program. We wanted to do it for them.

Pfalzer held true to his word and delivered on that expectation with a power play goal with just under 10 minutes to play in regulation. Kernitz got the Red Raiders closer with his second of the night but Chris Henry sealed the deal with a little less than two minutes to play to seal the deal for St. Mary’s.

“That’s a great win for us,” Dantonio said. “We have four or five kids sick in the locker room right now but battled through it. Give those kids credit.”

“It’s a bittersweet feeling for me, though,” he added. “I coached at St. Francis for seven years. Those are great kids and they battled hard.”

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