The Mids struggled out of the gates for the second straight game, giving up an extra-man goal by Holy Cross' Mike McKee just 1:24 into the game. The lead was short-lived as Navy's Billy Looney (Silver Spring, Md.) scored the first of five consecutive Navy goals just two-and-a-half minutes later to tie the game at one. Looney's goal started a 5-0 run over a 19-minute, 45-second span, as he and Ben Horn (Mill Valley, Calif.) scored twice in the run and William Wallace (Bloomfield Village, Mich.) netted one goal as the Mids pushed the Navy lead to 5-1 midway through the second period.
Holy Cross responded with a pair of goals just 1:15 apart midway through the second quarter to trim the lead to 5-3, but Looney secured his first-ever hat trick with a netter with just 1:06 left before halftime to push the intermission lead to 6-3.
The Crusaders, however, answered after the halftime break with a pair of third-period goals to trim the Navy lead to 6-5. Holy Cross won out three of the face-offs in the third period to cut into the Navy lead.
But the Mids would stave off the upset bid, scoring twice in the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. Looney netted goal No. 4 with 10:47 left, then freshman Nick Mirabito salted the game away with his only goal of the game with 5:28 remaining for the 8-5 decision.
"Holy Cross played very hard, and its goalie had an outstanding game," said Meade. The Crusaders' goalie, Matt Fallon, recorded 16 saves, including 10 in the second quarter to keep Holy Cross in the contest.
The Mids outshot Holy Cross, 41-20, but the Crusaders had 33 ground balls to Navy's 30. The Mids won 11-of-17 face-offs and were 14-of-18 on clears, but just 2-of-7 on extra-man opportunities. Wallace took the majority of Navy's face-offs, winning 8-of-14. The Mids played without All-American candidates Jon Birsner (Levittown, N.Y.) and Chris Pieczonka (Hamburg, N.Y.). Defenseman Pat Reilley (Syracuse, N.Y.) also missed the contest.
Navy will now enter the meat of its schedule, traveling to Washington D.C., next Saturday to battle No. 5-ranked Georgetown at 1 p.m.