Crusaders To Meet Air Force In AHA Semifinals On March 18

Matt Gordon

Game Notes In PDF Format


What: Atlantic Hockey Semifinals

Teams: Holy Cross (17-15-5, 14-8-5 Atlantic Hockey) vs. Air Force (18-11-6, 14-7-6 Atlantic Hockey)

Date: March 18, 2011

Time: 7:15 p.m.

Place: Blue Cross Arena (10,659), Rochester, N.Y.

Holy Cross Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester, Mass.; Chris Del Vecchio. Listen to game here.

Live Video Streaming: One Networks

Series Records (Holy Cross varsity games since 1966-1967):

With Air Force: Air Force leads 18-5-7

AHA Tournament Series Record: Air Force leads 1-0

Last Meeting: AFA 7, Holy Cross 6 (12/4/10; Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Last Holy Cross Win: Holy Cross 6, AFA 4 (1/22/10; Colorado Springs, Colo.)

First Meeting: AFA 4, Holy Cross 3 (2/5/93; Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Current Series Victory Streak: Air Force, one game

2010-2011 Series: Air Force leads 1-0-1

HC TO PLAY AIR FORCE IN AHA SEMIFINALS: The third-seeded Holy Cross men's hockey team (17-15-5 overall, 14-8-5 Atlantic Hockey) will play second-seeded Air Force (18-11-6 overall, 14-7-6 Atlantic Hockey) in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament semifinals at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., on Friday, March 18 at 7:15 p.m. The first semifinal will be between top seeded RIT and the six seed UConn at 4:00 p.m. The championship game will be on Saturday, March 19. This is the first time since the 2005-2006 season that the Crusaders have advanced past the quarterfinals. In 2006 the Crusaders won their second Atlantic Hockey Tournament championship. The Crusaders went 0-1-1 versus Air Force this season on the road on Dec. 3-4, with a 1-1 tie and a 7-6 loss. The Crusaders are 10-1-3 over their last 14 games, while the Falcons are 9-2-3 over the last 14. Air Force leads Atlantic Hockey and is fourth nationally with 3.77 goals scored per game, while Holy Cross is fifth in the league with 3.41 goals per contest. The Crusaders are fourth in the conference by allowing 3.11 goals per game and the Falcons are fifth with 3.17.   

THIRD BEST POWER PLAY IN THE NATION: HC has the second best power play in the AHA and the third best nationally with a 24.5 percentage. HC is 39-159 while on the power play. Air Force leads the league and is second nationally with a 25.0 percentage as it has gone 42-168.

WHEN SCORING FIRST GOAL: So far this season the Crusaders have found success when they score the first goal of the game. Holy Cross is 14-3-3 when it scores the first goal of the contest.

HC FINISHES THIRD IN AHA STANDINGS: The Crusaders finished in third place in the Atlantic Hockey standings with 33 points. On Jan. 28 with 10 games left to play the Crusaders were tied for eighth place out of 12 teams in Atlantic Hockey with a 6-8-3 league record and 15 points. Holy Cross then finished in third place with 33 points taking 18 of the 20 available points. The third place finish is Holy Cross' best since it placed first in the standings in the 2005-2006 season.

MOST WINS SINCE 2005-2006: The Crusaders' 17 overall wins are the most in a season since it won a school record 27 games in 2005-2006. The Crusaders' 14 Atlantic Hockey wins are their most in a season since they won a program-best 19 games with a 19-7-2 record in 2005-2006.

HC VERSUS AIR FORCE IN AHA TOURNAMENT: This will be the second ever meeting between Holy Cross and Air Force in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament. The Crusaders lost to Air Force on the road by a 3-0 score on March 10, 2007 in the quarterfinals.

HC IN THE AHA TOURNAMENT: With the 2-1 series victory over Canisius, the Crusaders have a 12-9 all-time record in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament as they have won two titles (2004 & 2006). Last season, The Crusaders went 1-2 with a victory over AIC in the first round and two losses on the road to Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals. The Crusaders went 2-2 in the 2009 tournament with a win over AIC in the first round and a 2-1 quarterfinals series defeat at RIT. In 2008, Holy Cross was swept in the best two-out-of-three quarterfinals series at RIT as it lost two 5-4 overtime games. In 2007, Holy Cross lost at Air Force in the quarterfinals. In 2006 at the Hart Center, Holy Cross defeated AIC in the quarterfinals (3-1), UConn in the semifinals (4-1) and Bentley in the championship game (5-2), earning its second title and second NCAA Tournament appearance. In 2005, Holy Cross defeated Sacred Heart, 4-2, in the quarterfinals, but then fell to eventual champion Mercyhurst, 4-3 (OT), in the semifinals. Holy Cross won the first-ever Atlantic Hockey Tournament in 2004, earning the program's first ever spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Crusaders defeated AIC (5-0), Canisius (4-1) and Sacred Heart in the title game (4-0). In 1999, the Crusaders won the MAAC Tournament Championship by defeating Canisius, 4-3, in the finals.

HC IN THE AHA SEMIFINALS: The Crusaders will be making their fourth appearance in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals as they made it to the semifinal round in the first three years of the tournament (2004, 2005 and 2006). The Crusaders are 2-1 all-time in AHA semifinal games as they defeated Canisius on April 14, 2004 by a 4-1 score, fell to Mercyhurst, 4-3 in overtime, on March 18, 2005, and defeated UConn by a 4-1 score on March 17, 2006. Both times the Crusaders have won in the semifinals they have gone onto to win the title.

SOLID OFFENSE: This season the Crusaders have scored 126 goals as they have netted 3.4 goals per game. These are the most goals Holy Cross has scored in a season since netting 130 in the 2005-2006 season. This season, the Crusaders have scored three or more goals in 24 of the 37 games with a 17-3-4 record.

HC SETS SCHOOL RECORD UNDEFEATED STREAK: The Crusaders set a new school record when they went undefeated in 12 straight games between Jan. 22-March 11. Holy Cross went 9-0-3 in 12 straight contests. The streak ended when Canisius defeated Holy Cross by a 3-2 score in overtime in game two of the AHA quarterfinals on March 12. The previous record was when Holy Cross went 10-0-0 between Dec. 8, 1979-Jan. 16, 1980. The Crusaders' streak was also tied for the longest current streak in the nation as Union went 11-0-1 over 12 contests. Here is a list of the longest unbeaten streaks in school history.

Rank    Streak                       Dates    
1          12 games (9-0-3)      Jan. 22, 2011-March 11, 2011
2          10 games (10-0-0)    Dec. 8, 1979-Jan. 16, 1980
3            9 games (5-0-4)      Jan. 2, 2009-Jan. 31, 2009
              9 games (9-0-0)      Jan. 16, 1999-Feb. 13, 1999
5            8 games (8-0-0)      Jan. 19, 2006-Feb. 10, 2006
              8 games (7-0-1)      Feb. 20, 1999-Mar. 20, 1999
              8 games (7-0-1)      Feb. 20, 1993-Nov. 27, 1993
              8 games (6-0-2)      Nov. 26, 1982-Jan. 4, 1983
              8 games (8-0-0)      Feb. 23, 1976-Dec. 8, 1976

CRUSADERS ARE 10-1-3 OVER LAST 14 GAMES: Holy Cross is 10-1-3 over its last 14 games as the Crusaders have outscored their opponents by a 63-32 margin. Holy Cross has averaged 4.5 goals per game and has allowed 2.3 goals per contest over the last 14 contests. The Crusaders' eight goals versus AIC on Feb. 5 were their most scored in a single game since a 10-3 win over Mercyhurst on Nov. 11, 2005. The 4-0 win against UConn and the 6-0 win over Army were Holy Cross' first and second shutouts of the season. The Crusaders are also 20-66 on the power play in the last 14 contests for a .303 percentage. Sophomore Kyle Fletcher (Kanata, Ontario) has led the Crusaders during this stretch as he has 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points as he has scored three of the eight game-winning goals. Sophomore Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) has six goals and 12 assists for 18 points, while sophomore Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) has also been outstanding with six goals and 10 assists for 16 points, including his first collegiate game-winner in the game versus AIC on Feb. 4. Senior Adam Roy (Feeding Hills, Mass.) has been big in net as he has a 2.21 goals against average and a .902 save percentage in the 14 games as he also has a 10-1-3 record and tallied two shutouts.

THE SERIES WITH AIR FORCE: This will be the 31st time that these two teams have met with Air Force leading, 18-5-7. The Crusaders are 1-9-5 against the Falcons since Air Force entered Atlantic Hockey in the 2006-2007 season. This season the Crusaders went 0-1-1 versus the Falcons. Holy Cross defeated Air Force on the road by a 6-4 score last season on Jan. 22, 2010. Holy Cross' last victory over Air Force prior to last season was on Oct. 30, 2004 as the Crusaders won at home by a 5-2 score in the last non-league game between the two teams. That was also the last time that Holy Cross has taken a season series from Air Force as the teams also tied 2-2 on Oct. 20, 2004, as the Crusaders won the series 1-0-1. Last year, Air Force won the season series, 2-1-1.

HOME ICE: Holy Cross went 11-6-1 at home this season. Its 11 home wins are the most since winning 12 with a 12-4-1 record in the 2005-2006 season. The Crusaders split a two-game series with Robert Morris, lost to Bentley and Providence, went 1-1-0 versus Niagara, recorded a 0-1-1 record versus RIT, then swept UConn, defeated AIC, won two over Army, defeated Sacred Heart and had a victory over Bentley. The Crusaders then went 2-0-1 versus Canisius. Last season, Holy Cross went 6-6-5 at the Hart Center. Holy Cross has a 311-195-34 (.607) all-time record at the Hart Center since it started playing there in 1975-1976.

SENIOR SALUTE: The six seniors of Matt Celin (Gibsonia, Pa.), Jamie Jelinek (Great Falls, Va.), J.P. Martignetti (Winchester, Mass.), Adam Roy, Everett Sheen (Lethbridge, Alberta) and Mark Znutas (Emerson, N.J.) have has been a part of 52 wins, including the 17 this season which are the most for the program since the 2005-2006 season. This group has also been involved in two of the longest unbeaten streaks in program history. The Crusaders' 12-game streak this season is the longest in school history, while their nine-game unbeaten streak in the 2008-2009 season is tied for third. Also this season, this class has contributed to the team's most Atlantic Hockey victories since the 2005-2006 season.

ZNUTAS WITH 144 CAREER GAMES PLAYED: Mark Znutas has played in 144 career games which are the third most all-time at Holy Cross. This season he has five goals and seven assists for 12 points, while for his career he has 15 goals and 40 assists for 55 points.

SCOUTING THE ROSTER: Holy Cross has six seniors, nine juniors, seven sophomores and six freshmen on this year's roster. The Crusaders have 15 forwards, 10 defenders and three goalies.

SCHMIDT NAMED ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Crusader freshman forward Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) has earned Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week honors. Schmidt tallied two goals and three assists for five points during the Atlantic Hockey Tournament quarterfinal series versus Canisius. This is the first time that Schmidt has been named Rookie of the Week. On March 11, Schmidt scored one goal in the 6-3 win, tallied assists on both Crusader goals in the 3-2 overtime loss on March 12 and recorded one goal and one assist for two points in the 7-3 victory on March 13 to win the series. For the season he has six goals and 15 assists as his 21 points are fifth on the team.

FLETCHER NAMED AHA PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kyle Fletcher was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week for the second time this season. Fletcher recorded four goals and two assists for six points in the 2-1 Atlantic Hockey Tournament best two-out-of-three quarterfinal series win over Canisius on March 11-13. Fletcher tallied one goal and one assist in the 6-3 victory in game one on March 11, while he scored three goals for his first collegiate hat trick and recorded one assist for four points in the 7-3 series clinching win on March 13. Fletcher was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week as he recorded three goals and five assists for eight points in the two wins over AIC on Feb. 4-5. This was the first time that he had received this honor. In the 5-2 win on Friday, he tallied one goal and two assists for three points, while in the 8-4 victory on Saturday, Fletcher recorded two goals and three assists for five points including his fourth game-winner of the season. Fletcher leads the team with a career-best 38 points, while he is tied for first with a career-best 22 assists and is second with a career-best 16 goals. His 16 goals are tied for eighth all-time for a season on the Holy Cross all-time Division I list. He is also tied for first in Atlantic Hockey with four game-winning goals. For his career he has 16 goals and 26 assists for 42 points.  

ON THE ROAD: The Crusaders have played 16 games on the road as they are 6-6-4 on their opponents' home ice so far this season. The Crusaders started the season with six straight games away from Worcester. Holy Cross went 0-2-0 on neutral ice at the Ice Breaker Tournament and then went 3-1-0 on its opponents' home ice. Holy Cross won league road games over AIC (Oct. 15) and Army (Oct. 17), while the Crusaders lost at ECACHL member Quinnipiac (Oct. 23). The Crusaders then defeated Hockey East member Northeastern (Oct. 29). Holy Cross went 1-0-1 in Buffalo versus Canisius (Nov. 13-14), and then defeated Sacred Heart (Nov. 19) on the road. The Crusaders went 0-1-1 at Air Force (Dec. 3-4), and then fell at UConn (Dec. 29) and lost to Bowling Green (Dec. 30) on neutral ice. The Crusaders fell at No. 1 Yale by a 10-3 score on Jan. 2. Then the Crusaders were swept at Mercyhurst (Jan. 14-15), defeated AIC (Feb. 4), and tied Sacred Heart (Feb. 20) and Bentley (Feb. 26). Last season, Holy Cross compiled a 6-12-1 record on its opponents' home ice and went 0-1-0 on neutral ice.  

HC ON ONE NETWORKS: All of Holy Cross' home games and Atlantic Hockey away games can be seen via live video streaming. The games can been viewed through One Networks.  

HC WITH THREE OVERALL TOURNAMENT TITLES: The Crusaders are looking to win their fourth conference tournament title. The Crusaders won the 1999 MAAC Tournament, and the 2004 and 2006 Atlantic Hockey Tournaments.

ROOKIES OF THE WEEK: Freshman defenseman Jeffrey Reppucci (Newburyport, Mass.) and freshman forward Shayne Stockton (Rochester, N.Y.) have each been named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week two times this season. Reppucci was named the Rookie of the Week for the second time this season as he recorded four points in the two-game sweep of Army on Feb. 11-12. On Friday, he tallied one goal and one assist in the 5-1 win as he scored the first goal of the game, while in the 6-0 victory on Saturday he recorded two assists. He netted his first collegiate goal in the game versus Mercyhurst on Jan. 14. He was named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week on Nov. 22 as he recorded three assists in two conference games. Reppucci tallied two assists in the 7-2 victory over Sacred Heart on Nov. 19, while he assisted on one goal versus Bentley on Nov. 20. Stockton earned the honor for his performance in the two-game series versus Sacred Heart on Feb. 18 and 20. He recorded a total of four assists in the series. He tallied two assists in the 3-2 win on Friday, including an assist on the game-winner, while he also recorded two assists in the 3-3 tie on Sunday, including one on the goal that tied the game at 3-3. Stockton was also named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week for his performance versus No. 17 Notre Dame at the Warrior Ice Breaker Tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. Stockton recorded one goal and one assist for two points in his collegiate debut in Holy Cross' 6-3 loss to the Fighting Irish on Oct. 8. He scored the first goal of the season for the Crusaders to tie the game at 1-1 in the first period, while he assisted on Holy Cross' second goal of the game. For the season, Reppucci is tied for fourth on the team with 16 assists, while he also has three goals for 19 points. Stockton is tied for fourth on the team with 16 assists and is fourth with 24 points. He is also fifth with eight goals.

LINSMAYER WITH 34 POINTS: Rob Linsmayer is tied for first on the team with a career-best 22 assists, while he is tied for second with a career-best 34 points. He is third with a career-best 12 goals. He was named one of 15 semifinalists for the 59th Walter Brown Award as announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Ray Gallant. The award is presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. Linsmayer is the first semifinalist from Holy Cross since James Sixsmith earned the honor in the 2006-2007 season. He is the sixth Crusader to be named a semifinalist for this award in the program's history, along with Sixsmith, Jim Stewart, Patrick Rissmiller, Tony Coskren and Tony Quesada. For his career, Linsmayer has 16 goals and 37 assists for 53 points. He was named the AT&T Crusader of the Week as he recorded two goals and three assists in the wins over UConn on Jan. 28-29, including two goals and one assist in the 4-2 victory on Jan. 28.  

NUNN WITH 16 POINTS IN LAST 13 GAMES: Brandon Nunn has recorded six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in the last 13 games. He was named the AT&T Crusader of the Week, for competition from Jan. 31-Feb. 6. During Friday night's 5-2 win over AIC, Nunn set new career highs with two goals and three assists for five points, including scoring his first collegiate game-winner. Then in Saturday night's 8-4 victory over AIC, Nunn scored two more goals. Overall this season, Nunn has now totaled seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, he has 21 points on eight goals and 13 assists.

HOLY CROSS HEAD COACH PAUL PEARL: Paul Pearl is in his 16th year at the helm of the Holy Cross ice hockey program, and is just the fifth head coach in the history of ice hockey at Holy Cross. On January 21, 2006, with a 3-2 victory at Dartmouth, Pearl became the school's all-time winningest coach with the 168th victory of his career. Pearl has forged a 243-241-59 (.502) record at Holy Cross and has been the man behind the bench in seven of the nine most successful seasons in Holy Cross history, while he has had three teams post 20-plus win seasons. Along with 14 post-season appearances in 15 years, Pearl led the Crusaders to their first two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003-2004 and 2005-2006, while he coached the Crusaders to their first ever NCAA Tournament win with the 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota in Grand Forks, N.D., on March 24, 2006. In 2005-2006, Pearl led the Crusaders to a school single season record 27 victories, as the team posted an overall record of 27-10-2. Holy Cross also claimed the AHA regular season and tournament titles.

SHEEN SETS SCHOOL RECORD: Everett Sheen has set the school record for games played with 148 as he has appeared in every game that the Crusaders have played during his career. He leads the team with a career-best 17 goals, while he is tied for second with a career-best 34 points and is third with a career-best 17 assists. He also leads the team with a career-best seven power play goals which are tied for 10th all-time for a season on the Holy Cross Division I list. He is also tied for the team-lead with a career-best four game-winning goals. His 17 goals are tied for fifth for a Division I season at the school. For his career, Sheen has 52 goals and 51 assists for 103 points in 148 games. He is 39th Crusader to record 100 points and is the ninth player to reach 100 points in the Division I era. He is sixth on the school's all-time Division I list for career goals, while he is ninth in points. Sheen is also ninth all-time on the Division I list with 17 career power play goals. He is also on the Hobey Baker fan ballot for the fourth time. He leads all current Crusaders in career goals, assists and points. Sheen recorded one goal and one assist for two points in the 4-0 win over UConn on Jan. 29. On Jan. 8, he scored two goals, including the game-winner, and also tallied one assist for three points in the 5-1 victory over Niagara. Sheen recorded three goals and one assist for four points as the Crusaders went 1-0-1 on the road versus Canisius. He scored one goal in the 3-3 tie on Nov. 13, while he tallied two goals, including the game-winner, and recorded one assist in the 6-2 win on Nov. 14. He was named the AHA Player of the Week on Oct. 18 as he recorded two goals and three assists for five points as the Crusaders earned two conference victories on the road. Sheen tallied two assists, including one on the game-winner, in the 3-2 win versus AIC on Oct. 15. He then scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, and recorded one assist for three points in the 5-4 win over Army on Oct. 17. This is his second straight season as a captain. He has been named AHA Player of the Week twice, while he was named to the AHA All-Rookie Team, earned AHA Rookie of the Week honors three times and was named the AHA Rookie of the Month once. Sheen led the team with 15 goals as a freshman.

HC SETS SCHOOL OVERTIME RECORD: Three of the 15 Holy Cross wins this season have been in overtime as it is 3-3-5 in overtime games. The three wins are the Crusaders' most overtime victories in a season since they won three in the 1994-1995 season which was Paul Pearl's first year as head coach of the Crusaders. The school record is four overtime victories in the 1986-1987 season. The Crusaders have played the most overtime games played in a single-season at Holy Cross with 11. The record was 10 overtime games in 2008-2009 when the Crusaders went 2-3-5 in those games. Since the start of the 2006-2007 season in 182 total games, the Crusaders have played 46 overtime contests with a 5-13-28 record as .253 percent of their games have gone to overtime.

ROY WITH A 10-1-3 RECORD IN LAST 14 GAMES: Senior goalie Adam Roy has played in the last 21 games, including 18 starts in a row. He is also 10-1-3 in the last 14 contests. He was named the Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Month for February. Roy only allowed one goal in the two-game sweep of Army for an 0.50 goals against average, while he made 32 saves for a .970 save percentage. He made 11 saves in the 5-1 win on Feb. 11, while he made 21 saves in the 6-0 victory on Feb. 12, as he recorded his second shutout of the season and the third of his career. Roy made 43 saves in the two-game sweep of AIC on Feb. 4-5, with a .878 save percentage and a 3.00 goals against average. He made 17 saves in the 5-2 win on Friday, while he made 26 saves in the 8-4 victory on Saturday. He was named the Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Week as he allowed only two goals for a 1.00 goals against average, while he made 46 saves for a .958 save percentage in the two wins over UConn on Jan. 28-29. This was the second time he has received this honor as he also earned it once as a freshman in 2007-2008. On Friday, he made 18 saves and allowed two goals in the 4-2 win, while on Saturday he made 28 saves, recording his second career shutout in the 4-0 victory. He was named the AT&T Crusader of the Week for his performance versus Niagara on Jan. 7-8. Roy was outstanding in net in the two games as he allowed only one goal on 55 shots. He made 54 saves for a .982 save percentage and he recorded an 0.68 goals against average. On Friday, he made seven saves and allowed no goals as he played in the second and third periods for a total of 27:41. Then on Saturday, he earned his first victory of the season as he made a career-best 47 saves for a .979 save percentage in the 5-1 win. For the season, Roy has a .905 save percentage and a 2.57 goals against average with a 11-7-3 record. Roy is second all-time on the Holy Cross Division I list with 1,892 career saves. He is also second all-time with 25 victories. As a freshman he was named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Month for February, while he earned Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week honors twice.

HC PICKED EIGHTH IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked eighth in the AHA Preseason Coaches' Poll. RIT was picked first with 118 points and eight first place votes, followed by Mercyhurst with 101 points and two first place votes. Air Force was picked third with 98 points, while league additions Niagara and Robert Morris tied for fourth with 82 points each. Robert Morris also had two first place votes. Canisius was sixth (63 points), Sacred Heart was seventh (61 points), Holy Cross was eighth (60 points), Army was ninth (48 points), Bentley was 10th (47 points), UConn was 11th (21 points) and AIC was 12th (11 points).