Jan. 11, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Holy Cross Radio: Friday & Saturday-WTAG 580 AM, Worcester, Mass.; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play. www.sportsjuice.com, internet.
Series Record: Army leads 23-14-3 (Varsity games since 1966).
Last Meeting: HC 5, Army 3 (10/29/05; Worcester, Mass.).
THIS WEEK: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (11-5-1 overall, 8-3-1 Atlantic Hockey) travels to West Point, N.Y., to face Army (6-11-3 overall, 4-6-3 Atlantic Hockey) for two games at Tate Rink on Friday and Saturday, January 13-14. Both games are set to start at 7:00 p.m. Holy Cross is 6-1-0 in road games, while Army is 5-1-1 at home. The Crusaders are currently tied with Sacred Heart for second place in Atlantic Hockey with 17 points, while the Black Knights are in sixth place with 11 points. Mercyhurst leads the league with 20 points. Holy Cross split a home-and-home series with Sacred Heart last week, while Army hosted Mercyhurst and won both games by scores of 5-0 and 3-2 (OT).
THE SERIES WITH ARMY: This weekend's games will mark the 41st and 42nd meetings between the Crusaders and the Black Knights since Holy Cross became a varsity program in the 1966-67 season, with Army leading the series 23-14-3. The Crusaders have won three straight over the Black Knights as they swept a two-game series earlier this season on October 28-29, at the Hart Center by scores of 1-0 and 5-3, and defeated Army 3-2 (12/3/04), in Worcester last season.
HC IN THE RANKINGS: The Crusaders' .676 overall winning percentage this season is ninth in the nation. Holy Cross is first in the AHA and 12th in the nation in scoring defense with 2.35 goals allowed per game, while it is first in the AHA and fourth in the nation in penalty kill percentage (89.0). Offensively, the Crusaders are third in the AHA and 26th in the nation in scoring offense (3.06 goals per game).
THE BLACK KNIGHTS: Army is coming off two very impressive wins over first-place Mercyhurst this past weekend at Tate Rink. On Friday, the Black Knights dominated the Lakers, 5-0, while on Saturday they won in a 3-2 overtime thriller, to improve to 5-1-1 at home this season. Army is third in the league in scoring defense with 2.55 goals allowed. Senior goaltender Brad Roberts has played in all 20 games, and he is fourth in the league in both save percentage (.911) and goals against average (2.53). Roberts was named AHA Player of the Week for his two victory performance over Mercyhurst. He stopped 70 of 72 shots by the nation's top scoring offense, recording a .972 save percentage in the process. Offensively, Army is led by sophomore Luke Flicek's five goals and eight assists for 13 points. Sophomore Chase Podsiad is second on the team in scoring with four goals and eight assists for 12 points.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: Last weekend, Holy Cross split a home-and-home series with Sacred Heart as both remain tied for second place in the league. On Friday night, the Crusaders dropped a 3-1 decision on the road as senior Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) scored the lone goal of the game for Holy Cross. Senior goaltender Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.) made 25 saves. Holy Cross bounced back on Saturday night at the Hart Center and edged out a 3-2 victory. Senior Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) and sophomore Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) scored the first two goals of the game before the Pioneers made it 2-1. Junior Tanner Fogarty (McMurray, Pa.) scored the eventual game-winner in the third period before Sacred Heart scored a late goal for the 3-2 final. Conway, making his third straight start, stopped 34 shots to earn the win.
LOVING THE ROAD: The Crusaders are 6-1-0 on their opponent's home ice this season. They have defeated Massachusetts (10/21), Connecticut (11/4), American International (11/19), Rensselaer (11/25) and Canisius (12/2-3). Holy Cross' only loss is to Sacred Heart (1/6). The Crusaders are 1-2-0 in neutral site games this season with losses to Nebraska-Omaha (11/26) and Ohio State (12/29), while they defeated Rensselaer (12/30).
STRONG DEFENSE: Holy Cross is ranked first in Atlantic Hockey and 12th nationally in scoring defense with 40 goals allowed and 2.35 goals allowed per game, and has given up only 11 goals on 100 power play opportunities for its opponents which is first in the league and fourth nationally. The Crusaders have also received an offensive spark from junior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) who is fifth on the team in scoring with three goals and nine assists for 12 points. He is tied for fourth in the conference and tied for 18th nationally in points per game by a defenseman with .75.
DUAL THREAT IN NET: The Crusaders have two senior goalies bringing a wealth of experience to that position in Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) and Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.). Quesada is 6-3-1 this season, including his fifth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army and is just one win away from setting a school record for career wins. He is currently tied with Paul Pijanowski's school-record of 45 (1984-87). Quesada is second all-time at Holy Cross in minutes played with 4864:26 and games played with 85. He is third at Holy Cross in career saves with 2154. He ranks third in Atlantic Hockey and 30th nationally in goals against average (2.49), while he is third in Atlantic Hockey and 12th nationally in save percentage (.922). Earlier this season, Quesada was named the Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week (10/24) for his 22 save performance in the 3-2 win over UMass. This marked the fourth time that he has been named Goaltender of the Week by the conference, as he was named once (1/3/05) in 2004-05 and twice (11/23/03 & 1/4/04) in 2003-04. Conway is 5-2-0 this season and his .714 winning percentage ranks him ninth nationally, while his .931 save percentage is first in Atlantic Hockey and fifth in the nation. In addition, his 2.01 goals against average also tops the conference and is eighth nationally. Coming into this weekend's games he has made three straight starts in goal. Conway was named AHA Goaltender of the Week (1/2) for his 39 save performance in the 4-2 win over RPI at the Ohio Hockey Classic. This marked the second time that he has recieved this honor. Last season, Conway was named Goaltender of the Week on Nov. 29, 2004. He received the 2004-05 Regular-Season Goaltending Award for posting the best goals against average in conference games (2.31).
SENIOR LEADERSHIP: The first line consisting of senior co-captains Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) and Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick), along with senior Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) are having outstanding senior seasons. This line has accounted for 22 goals, 31 assists and 53 points. Napert-Frenette leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points. His 113 career points ranks him tied for 29th with Mike Pinho (1975-79) on the Holy Cross all-time points list. McGregor is second on the team in scoring with 13 goals and six assists for 19 points. His 13 goals leads Atlantic Hockey and his .81 goals per game is fourth in the nation. McGregor is first in the conference and fifth in the nation in power play goals with eight. This season, he had five points with five goals in the two games against Mercyhurst, including a hat trick (11/11). He was named the AHA Player of the Week for that performance, making it the third time that he has received that honor. Last season, he was named Player of the Week twice (1/3/05 & 1/17/05). McGregor's 102 career points ranks him 33rd at Holy Cross. Bartlett has been a major factor as he has two goals and 12 assists for 14 points, which is good enough for a tie for third on the team in scoring. For his career, Bartlett has played in 96 games with 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points.
HOLY CROSS HEAD COACH Paul Pearl: Paul Pearl is in his 11th year at the helm of the Holy Cross ice hockey program. He is just the fifth head coach in the 36-year history of ice hockey at Holy Cross. Pearl has forged a 165-143-30 record at his alma mater and has been the man behind the bench in six of the eight most successful seasons in Holy Cross history. Along with nine post-season appearances in 10 years, Pearl led the Crusaders to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in the 2003-04 season. Pearl's 165 wins puts him two shy of tying the school-record of 167 set by Peter Van Buskirk (1979-88; 1996-97).
ARMY HEAD COACH BRIAN RILEY: Brian Riley became the 16th head coach in Army hockey history on July 30, 2004, succeeding his older brother, Rob, who retired from the coaching profession. Riley, is just the third head coach in the past 55 years of Army hockey. His career record is 17-32-6.