March 4, 2006
WORCESTER, Mass. - Senior Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) scored the game-winning goal with just 1:03 left in the game as the Holy Cross men's hockey team defeated Bentley, 3-2, in Atlantic Hockey action this evening at the Hart Center. With the win and Sacred Heart's 4-3 loss to UConn, the Crusaders win the Atlantic Hockey regular season championship for the second time in three seasons. The Crusaders improve to 23-9-2 overall (19-7-2 AHA), while the Falcons fall to 13-16-5 overall (11-12-5 AHA). Holy Cross' 23 wins is a new school record. Both the 1998-99 and 2003-04 teams each won 22 games.
No. 1 Holy Cross will now host No. 8 AIC in the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals on Saturday, March 11, at the Hart Center at 7:00 p.m. As announced before the season, Holy Cross will also host the semifinals and finals at the Hart Center on March 17-18.
The first period saw 10 combined penalties and two penalty shots. Holy Cross sophomore Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) took the first penalty shot at 5:16 into period, but Bentley goalie Ray Jean came up with the save. The Crusaders got on the board at the 10:15 mark when senior Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) scored a power play goal and his 11th goal of the season as Holy Cross had a five-on-three advantage. Reinhardt sent a pass from behind the net to Bartlett who fired in a one-timer past Jean.
The Falcons tied the game at 1-1 at the 15:16 mark when Tom Dickhudt scored on a penalty shot. Bentley took a 2-1 lead with 1:15 left in the period when Brett Murphy scored a power play goal. Both teams went 1-4 on the power play, while Holy Cross outshot Bentley by a 10-8 margin.
Holy Cross junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) scored the only goal of the second period to tie the game at 2-2 at the 16:07 mark. Sixsmith drove to the right side of the net and then lifted the puck over Jean's shoulder for the power play goal and his ninth goal of the year. For the period, the Crusaders had 11 shots and went 1-5 on the man-advantage and the Falcons had seven shots and went 0-2.
Napert-Frenette's game winner came on the power play and was assisted by Sixsmith and junior Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.). Bentley went with an empty net for the final 38 seconds but could come up with the equalizer.
Senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 22 saves and improves to 18-5-2 on the season, while Jean stopped 27 shots and falls to 10-12-4. Quesada's 18 wins is a new career high and ties him for second on the single-season all-time list at Holy Cross with Rob McGlory who had 18 wins in the 1982-83 season. The record is 19 set by Mark Young in the 1979-80 season.
Holy Cross outshot Bentley, 30-24. The Crusaders went 3-12 on the power play and the Falcons went 1-7.