January 10, 2007

Men's Hockey Set To Host Air Force

Jan. 10, 2007

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

The Teams: Holy Cross (8-11-2, 7-8-2 AHA) vs. Air Force (11-8-3, 8-3-3 AHA)

Dates: January 12-13

Times: Friday-7:30 p.m.; Saturday-7:00 p.m.

Place: Hart Center (1,600), Worcester, Mass.

Holy Cross Radio: Saturday-WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester, Mass.

Series Record: Air Force leads 9-4-2

Last Meeting: HC 5, Air Force 2 (10/30/04; Worcester, Mass.)

THIS WEEKEND: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (8-11-2 overall, 7-8-2 Atlantic Hockey) returns to the Hart Center on Friday and Saturday, January 12-13 after a nine-game road trip when it hosts Atlantic Hockey opponent Air Force (11-8-3 overall, 8-3-3 AHA) for two games. Friday night's game is set to start at 7:30 p.m., while Saturday's game will begin at 7:00 p.m. This will be the first time Holy Cross has played at home since defeating Connecticut, 7-3, on November 21. Three points separate the two teams in the standings as the Crusaders have played 17 Atlantic Hockey games and are in fifth place with 16 points, while the Falcons have played in 14 conference games and are tied for third place with 19 points. Air Force is ranked second in Atlantic Hockey in goals per game with 3.36, while Holy Cross is third with 3.33.

THE SERIES WITH AIR FORCE: Air Force leads the all-time series, 9-4-2, as this weekend's games will mark the first time these teams have played each other as members of Atlantic Hockey. The last time these two teams met, Holy Cross took a two-game series, 1-0-1, in Worcester on October 29-30, 2004, with a 2-2 tie and a 5-2 win. The Crusaders have a 2-3-1 all-time record against Air Force at the Hart Center.

CRUSADERS RETURN TO THE HART CENTER: When Holy Cross faces Air Force this weekend, it will play its first game at the Hart Center since the 7-3 win over Connecticut on November 21. The Crusaders just concluded a stretch of nine straight games on the road. Holy Cross will play four of its next five games at home with two games this weekend and two games with AIC on January 19-20. The Crusaders will face Dartmouth on the road on January 16. Holy Cross is 6-2 at home this season and 281-162-22 all-time at the Hart Center.

STRONG ON THE POWER PLAY: Holy Cross' 23.0 power play percentage is fourth in the nation and first in Atlantic Hockey. In the last 11 games the Crusaders have scored 21 power play goals, including going 5-15 on the power play in the two games at Bentley last weekend. Senior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) is tied for eighth in the nation in power play goals with seven.

THE FALCONS: Air Force has won three out of its last four games including a two game sweep of Mercyhurst on the road last weekend. The Falcons are currently tied for third place with Army in the Atlantic Hockey standings with 19 points. Air Force is led by junior Eric Ehn's 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points. Ehn leads the nation in points and points per game (1.82), while he is second nationally in goals and goals per game (.86). He also ranks eighth in assists per game (.95). Ehn's linemates of senior Andrew Ramsey and sophomore Mike Phillipich are also having solid seasons as Ramsey has 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points, while Phillipich has eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points. In net, the Falcons have seen four goaltenders see action. Senior Peter Foster has a 3.11 goals against average in 674:41, while junior Ian Harper has a 2.56 goals against average in 328:06 and freshman Andrew Volkening has a 3.06 goals against average in 254:30. Senior Ben Worker made his season debut against Mercyhurst last week and earned the win by stopping 18 of 19 shots.

SENIOR SALUTE: Holy Cross' five seniors Tanner Fogarty (McMurray, Pa.), Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario), Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.), Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) and captain James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) are one of the most successful classes in the history of Holy Cross men's hockey. They have been a part of 73 wins, two Atlantic Hockey titles, two NCAA Tournaments and one NCAA Tournament victory. The most wins by a class in a four-year period is 82 by last year's graduating seniors.

SIXSMITH SECOND IN THE NATION IN ASSISTS: Senior captain James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) is currently second in the nation in assists with 23 and assists per game with 1.10, while he is fourth in points per game with 1.57. Sixsmith is coming off a five point weekend at Bentley with three goals and two assists in the two games. In the 7-4 win on Friday night, he scored two goals and added two assists, while he netted Holy Cross' first goal of the game on Saturday night. He now holds the Holy Cross all-time Division I record for career assists with 97. The record was held by current San Jose Shark Patrick Rissmiller (1998-2002) who had 90 assists during his career. Sixsmith has 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points in 21 games this season, as he now has 41 goals and 138 points in 128 career games. His 97 assists are sixth all-time in the program's history since 1966. Sixsmith's 138 points are tied for third all-time in Division I as the record is 143 held by Rissmiller. He is also seventh in goals with 41 on the HC all-time Division I list. Last season, Sixsmith was named the 2006 Atlantic Hockey Tournament MVP for his three goals and five assists in the three games.

LANDRY LEADS DEFENSEMEN IN SCORING: Senior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) is having a big season so far as his 1.19 points per game by a defenseman are ranked first in Atlantic Hockey and second in the nation. In the 7-4 win over Bentley last Friday night, he had a goal and four assists. Landry is third on the team in goals (nine), while he is second in assists (16) and points (25). Seven of Landry's nine goals are on the power play as his seven power play goals are tied for eighth in the nation. He has played in 127 career games with 24 goals and 60 assists for 84 points, as his 60 assists are ninth all-time on the Holy Cross Division I list and his 84 points are ranked 10th.

REINHARDT ON A ROLL: Junior center Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) has 11 goals, 12 assists and 23 points, as he leads the team in goals, while he is third in assists and points. His three game-winning goals are tied for 13th nationally and his two shorthanded goals are tied for eighth in the nation. For his career, Reinhardt has 33 goals and 48 assists for 81 points in 89 games. His 33 goals are 10th on the Holy Cross all-time Division I chart.

ROOKIE DRISCOLL OFF TO FAST START: Freshman center Ryan Driscoll (Dorchester, Mass.) has five goals and 11 assists for 16 points on the season. Driscoll is tied for fifth on the team in goals, while he is fourth in assists and points. Driscoll has played in all 21 games and his .76 points per game by a rookie are third in Atlantic Hockey and are tied for 28th in the country.

HC PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was picked to finish third in the Atlantic Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll. The Crusaders received 83 total points with one first place vote. Mercyhurst was picked as this year's preseason favorite with 96 points and seven first place votes, followed by Sacred Heart with 88 points and two first place votes. Following Holy Cross, Connecticut was picked fourth with 55 points, and Air Force and Bentley tied for fifth with 51 points each. Canisius (45 points), RIT (36 points), Army (32 points) and AIC (13 points) were picked in positions seven through 10 by the league's head coaches.

2005-06 REVIEW: The Crusaders are coming off their most successful season with a school-best 27-10-2 record as they earned their first win in the NCAA Tournament. The 4-3 overtime victory over Minnesota in the NCAA West Regional Semifinals marked the first time that a No. 4 seed defeated a No. 1 seed in NCAA action (since the tournament expanded to 16 teams). The Crusaders also won the Atlantic Hockey regular season and tournament titles for the second time in three years, and were ranked No. 14 in the final USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll for its highest ever national ranking.

HOLY CROSS HEAD COACH Paul Pearl: Paul Pearl is in his 12th 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 189-159-33 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 10 post-season appearances in 11 years, Pearl led the Crusaders to their first two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003-04 and 2005-06, 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 2005-06, 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 Atlantic Hockey regular season and tournament titles.

CRUSADERS IN THE PROS: Former Holy Cross hockey player Patrick Rissmiller has been having success in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks. After being recalled from the Cleveland Barons on March 15, 2006, Rissmiller went onto to tally five goals and four assists in 29 games, including two goals and an assist in the playoffs. Rissmiller scored the first goal of the game in San Jose's 5-4 win over Nashville in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals as the Sharks went onto win the series, 4-1. So far this year he has two goals and nine assists in 42 games. Currently three players from last season's graduating class are on professional rosters. Goalie Tony Quesada is with the Houston Aeros of the AHL which is the affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild, while Tyler McGregor is playing for the Memphis RiverKings of the CHL. Also defenseman Marc Bianchi is playing with the Lubbock Cotton Kings of the CHL.