ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Holy Cross head men's hockey coach Paul Pearl has been named the 2011 Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year announced on Thursday night at the conference's banquet. Also sophomore forward Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) won the Best Defensive Forward award and freshman defenseman Jeffrey Reppucci (Newburyport, Mass.) earned All-Rookie team accolades.
This is the second time that Pearl has earned this honor as he was also named the 2004 Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year. He was also the 2002 MAAC Coach of the Year, the 1998 ECAC East Coach of the Year and the 1998 New England Writer's Association Coach of the Year. So far this season the Crusaders have recorded a 17-15-5 overall record and went 14-8-5 in the Atlantic Hockey regular season. 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. 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. Also this season The Crusaders set a new school record when they went undefeated in 12 straight games between Jan. 22-March 11 as Holy Cross went 9-0-3.
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. He has had three teams post 20-plus win seasons. Along with 15 post-season appearances in 16 years, Pearl led the Crusaders to their first two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004 and 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.
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. 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.
Reppucci has earned Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week accolades twice this season. He 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. For the season, Reppucci is tied for fourth on the team with 16 assists, while he also has three goals for 19 points.
The third-seeded Crusaders (17-15-5 overall, 14-8-5) will play second-seeded Air Force (18-11-6 overall, 14-7-6 Atlantic Hockey) 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.
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.