January 18, 2006

Holy Cross Men's Hockey Set To Face UConn & Dartmouth

Jan. 18, 2006

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

Series With UConn: Tied at 37-37-1 (Varsity games since 1966).

Last Meeting: UConn 3, HC 2 (11/5/05; Worcester, Mass.).

Series With Dartmouth: Dartmouth leads 2-1.

Last Meeting: Dartmouth 2, HC 1 (11/1/03; Hanover, N.H.).

THIS WEEK: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (12-6-1 overall, 9-4-1 Atlantic Hockey) hosts Connecticut (7-13-1 overall, 6-10-0 Atlantic Hockey) on Thursday, January 19, at the Hart Center, while it will travel to Hanover, N.H., to face Dartmouth (7-9-1 overall, 6-5-1 ECACHL) at Thompson Arena on Saturday, January 21. Both games are set to start at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders are currently in third place in Atlantic Hockey with 19 points, while the Huskies are in sixth place with 12 points. Mercyhurst leads the league with 24 points, followed by Sacred Heart with 21. Holy Cross split a weekend series at Army last week, while UConn dropped two games to Mercyhurst by scores of 6-3 and 4-3 (OT). The Big Green fell to New Hampshire on Jan. 14, by a score of 5-4, as they are tied for fourth place in the ECACHL. Dartmouth hosts Sacred Heart on Friday, January 20.

THE SERIES WITH UCONN: Thursday night's game will mark the 76th meeting between the Crusaders and the Huskies since Holy Cross became a varsity program in the 1966-67 season, with the series tied at 37-37-1. Earlier this season the two split a home-and-home series with Holy Cross winning on the road by a score of 4-1 and the Huskies winning at the Hart Center by a score of 3-2. Last year, the Crusaders took the series, 2-0-1.

THE SERIES WITH DARTMOUTH: Saturday night's game will mark the fourth time that the Crusaders and the Big Green have met with every meeting taking place in Hanover. Dartmouth has won two in a row, 2-1 (11/1/03) and 9-1 (11/20/01), while Holy Cross won the first ever game in the series, 5-2 (12/30/86), at Dartmouth's Auld Lang Syne Classic.

HC IN THE RANKINGS: The Crusaders' .658 overall winning percentage this season is ninth in the nation. Holy Cross is first in the AHA and 13th in the nation in scoring defense with 2.42 goals allowed per game, while it is first in the AHA and fourth in the nation in penalty kill percentage (88.5). Offensively, the Crusaders are third in the AHA and 27th in the nation in scoring offense (3.05 goals per game), while they are third in the AHA and 10th in the nation in power play conversion percentage (20.3).

THE HUSKIES: UConn is coming off two losses to Mercyhurst this past weekend and is currently on a six-game losing streak. Junior Cole Koidahl and freshman Chris Myhro are tied for the team-lead in scoring. Koidahl has six goals and 12 assists for 18 points, while Myhro has eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points, which is 15th best in the nation for rookies. Junior Scott Tomes (1-7-0) and freshman Jon Anderson (3-5-0) have recently split time in net for the Huskies. Anderson has a 3.32 goals against average and Tomes has a 3.70, while they both have a .891 save percentage.

THE BIG GREEN: Dartmouth is 13th in the nation in scoring offense with 3.35 goals a game, while it is 6th nationally in power play conversion percentage with a 21.9. Senior captain Mike Ouellette leads the team in scoring with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points, while senior Eric Przepiorka is second with eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points. Sophomore Mike Devine has seen the majority of the action in net, as he is 6-5-1 on the season, with a 2.45 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

THE WEEK THAT WAS: Last weekend, Holy Cross split a series at Army. On Friday night, the Crusaders edged the Black Knights, 4-3. Sophomore Cal St. Denis (Freelton, Ontario) broke a 3-3 tie when he scored the game-winner at 4:41 into the third period. Senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 18 saves and set a school record for career wins with 46. On Saturday night, Holy Cross fell 3-2, when Army's Lyle Gal gave the Black Knights a 3-2 lead with just under three minutes in the game. Senior goalie Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.) made 23 saves for the Crusaders. Before the game on Saturday, Army honored its former team captain Derek Hines, who was killed in Afghanistan on September 1, 2005.

LOVING THE ROAD: The Crusaders are 7-2-0 on their opponent's home ice this season. They have defeated Massachusetts (10/21), Connecticut (11/4), American International (11/19), Rensselaer (11/25), Canisius (12/2-3) and Army (1/13). Holy Cross' only two losses are to Sacred Heart (1/6) and Army (1/14).

2-0-0 VERSUS ECACHL: This season the Crusaders are 2-0-0 in games against an ECACHL opponent with two wins over Rensselaer. Holy Cross defeated the Engineers, 3-2, on Nov. 25, at the RPI Holiday Tournament, and then took a 4-2 victory, on Dec. 30, at the Ohio Hockey Classic. The Crusaders are 3-2-0 in non-conference games this season with a 3-2 win at UMass, a 6-1 loss versus Nebraska-Omaha and a 4-0 loss versus Ohio State.

STRONG DEFENSE: Holy Cross is ranked first in Atlantic Hockey and 13th nationally in scoring defense with 46 goals allowed and 2.42 goals allowed per game, and has given up only 13 goals on 113 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 11 assists for 14 points. He is second in the conference and 16th nationally in points per game by a defenseman with .78.

QUESADA SETS HC RECORD FOR WINS: Senior Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 18 saves in the 4-3 win at Army (1/13), giving him a school-record 46 career wins. The record of 45 wins was previously held by Paul Pijanowski (1984-87). Quesada is 7-3-1 this season, including his fifth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army (10/28). Quesada is currently second all-time at Holy Cross in save percentage (.911), games played (86) and minutes played (4924:26), while he is third in goals against average (2.57) and saves (2172). He is third in Atlantic Hockey and 22nd nationally in save percentage (.918). 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 received this honor in his career.

CONWAY SOLID IN NET: Senior Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.) has continued to split time in goal with Quesada and has been outstanding. Conway is 5-3-0 this season, as his .926 save percentage is second in Atlantic Hockey and 12th in the nation. In addition, his 2.14 goals against average is second in the conference and 13th nationally. 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. 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). His .913 career save percentage and 2.46 career goals against average are currently Holy Cross all-time records.

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 24 goals, 32 assists and 56 points. McGregor leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and six assists for 21 points. His 15 goals leads Atlantic Hockey and his .83 goals per game is third in the nation. McGregor is first in the conference and tied for third in the nation in power play goals with 10. 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 104 career points ranks him 33rd at Holy Cross. Napert-Frenette is second on 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. Bartlett has been a major factor as he has two goals and 13 assists for 15 points, which is good enough for a tie for third on the team in scoring with junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.), who has four goals and 11 assists. For his career, Bartlett has played in 98 games with 22 goals and 37 assists for 59 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 166-144-30 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 166 wins puts him one shy of tying the school-record of 167 set by Peter Van Buskirk (1979-88; 1996-97).