March 17, 2006
WORCESTER, Mass. - Junior James Sixsmith scored two goals and added an assist as the No. 20 in the nation and top-seeded Holy Cross men's hockey team defeated sixth-seeded Connecticut, 4-1, in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament Semifinals this afternoon at the Hart Center. With the victory, Holy Cross advances to the Atlantic Hockey championship game on Saturday, March 18, at the Hart Center at 7:00 p.m. They will take on Bentley, which defeated Mercyhurst 3-2 in double overtime in the second semifinal. The Crusaders move to 25-9-2 overall, while the Huskies concluded their season with an 11-23-2 overall record.
Holy Cross got off to a quick 1-0 start when senior Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) deposited a rebound off senior Blair Bartlett's (Dryden, Ontario) shot at the 16:40 mark in the first period. McGregor backhanded the puck easily into the left side of the net past UConn goaltender Brad Smith, who was left out of position after making the initial save.
The game remained 1-0 for a majority of the first frame, but the Huskies were able to even the score at 1-1 with just 13 seconds left. Chris Uber managed to put the puck past senior Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) during a scramble for the puck in front of the Crusader net.
After the first Holy Cross goal Smith was solid for the rest of the first period, denying a few good Crusader scoring opportunities. UConn out shot Holy Cross by a 13-6 margin in the first period, while each team went 0-1 on the power play.
Holy Cross regained the lead 2-1 at the 14:36 mark of the second period when junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) picked up a loose puck at mid-ice during a UConn power play and skated in to score between the left post and Smith's pads. The shorthanded goal was assisted by senior Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) and junior Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario).
Sixsmith would add to the Crusader lead less than two minutes later on the power play when he put back a rebound in the top right corner of the net from just in front of the goal crease off a shot by Napert-Frenette. The Crusaders took the lead 3-1 as Sixsmith picked up the 100th point of his career in the purple and white. The junior became the 37th player in Holy Cross history to reach the 100-point milestone.
With four seconds left in the period, UConn appeared to score their second goal of the game, but the referees ruled that the puck was kicked into the net. The score would remain 3-1 at the end of the second. Holy Cross had 12 shots and went 1-2 on the man-advantage, while UConn had seven shots and went 0-3.
The score would remain the same for over 13 minutes until the 6:29 mark in the final period when Sixsmith received a pass from Napert-Frenette, who then took a return pass and put the puck in the top shelf over Smith's right shoulder to increase the Holy Cross lead to 4-1. The goal was Napert-Frenette's 14th of the season.
Quesada made 37 saves and is now 20-5-2 on the season, while Smith stopped 25 shots and is 7-7-2. Quesada's 20th win breaks the school record for wins in a season by Mark Young who set the record in the 1979-80 season. UConn outshot Holy Cross, 38-29, while the Crusaders went 1-5 on the power play and the Huskies went 0-7.