Jan. 24, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Holy Cross (14-6-1/10-4-1 AH) vs. UConn (7-14-1/6-11-0 AH)
Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum (2,000)
Series Record: HC leads 38-37-1 (Varsity games since 1966).
Last Meeting: HC 5, UConn 2 (1/19/06; Worcester, Mass.).
TONIGHT'S GAME: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (14- 6-1 overall, 10-4-1 Atlantic Hockey) travels to Storrs, Conn., on Tuesday, January 24, to take on Connecticut (7-14-1 overall, 6-11-0 Atlantic Hockey) at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The game is set to start at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders are currently in third place in Atlantic Hockey with 21 points, while the Huskies are in sixth place with 12 points. Holy Cross defeated UConn by a score of 5-2 at the Hart Center last Thursday to improve to 2-1-0 against the Huskies this season. Tonight marks the fi nal regular season game between the two teams this season. The Crusaders are also coming off a 3-2 win at Dartmouth on Saturday night.
THE SERIES WITH UCONN: Thursday night's game will mark the 77th meeting between the Crusaders and the Huskies since Holy Cross became a varsity program in the 1966-67 season, with the Crusaders leading 38-37-1. 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 Thursday night, Holy Cross defeated UConn, 5-2, at the Hart Center and leads the season series 2-1-0. Last year, the Crusaders took the series, 2-0-1.
HC IN THE RANKINGS: The Crusaders' .690 overall winning percentage this season is sixth in the nation. Holy Cross is fi rst in the AHA and 12th in the nation in scoring defense with 2.38 goals allowed per game, while it is fi rst in the AHA and fourth in the nation in penalty kill percentage (.889). Offensively, the Crusaders are third in the AHA and 24th in the nation in scoring offense (3.14 goals per game), while they are second in the AHA and eighth in the nation in power play conversion percentage (.210).
THE HUSKIES: UConn is coming off last week's loss to Holy Cross and is currently on a seven-game losing streak. Junior Cole Koidahl leads the team in scoring with six goals and 13 assists for 19 points, while freshman Chris Myhro is second with eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points, which is 17th best in the nation for rookies. All three UConn goaltenders have seen signifi cant action. Junior Scott Tomes (1-7-0), freshman Jon Anderson (3-6-0) and sophomore Bras Smith (3-1-1) have recently split time in net for the Huskies. Smith has a 2.13 goals against average and .929 save percentage, while Anderson has a 3.60 goals against average and a .881 save percentage. Tomes has a 3.70 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.
THE WEEK THAT WAS: Last week the Crusaders went 2-0-0 with wins over UConn and Dartmouth. In the 5-2 victory over UConn, senior Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) scored two goals, including the game-winner. He also added an assist, while senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 29 saves to earn the win. In the win at Dartmouth on Saturday night, junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) scored a shorthanded game winning goal with just 28 seconds remaining in the third period. Senior Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) assisted on all three of Holy Cross' goals. Quesada stopped 32 shots, including 15 saves in the second period. The win gave head coach Paul Pearl the school record for career coaching victories with 168. Holy Cross evened the all-time series versus Dartmouth at 2-2, with all games being playing in Hanover, N.H.
LOVING THE ROAD: The Crusaders are 8-2-0 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), Army (1/13) and Dartmouth (1/21). Holy Cross' only two losses are to Sacred Heart (1/6) and Army (1/14).
4-2-0 IN NON-CONFERENCE GAMES: The Crusaders concluded their non-conference schedule with a 4-2-0 record this season. Holy Cross went 3-0-0 in games against an ECACHL opponent with the 3-2 win over Dartmouth on Saturday night and 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. Holy Cross earned a 3-2 win at Hockey East member UMass in the season-opener, while it had a 6-1 loss versus Nebraska-Omaha and a 4-0 loss versus Ohio State.
STRONG DEFENSE: Holy Cross is ranked fi rst in Atlantic Hockey and 12th nationally in scoring defense with 50 goals allowed and 2.38 goals allowed per game, and has given up only 14 goals on 125 power play opportunities for its opponents which is fi rst in the league and fourth nationally. The Crusaders have also received an offensive spark from junior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) who is sixth on the team in scoring with three goals and 12 assists for 15 points. He is tied for third in the conference and tied 18th nationally in points per game by a defenseman with .75.
SIXSMITH EARNS WEEKLY HONORS: Junior forward James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Player of the Week and the New England Hockey Journal Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week for his four-point performance last week. Sixsmith scored an empty net goal and added two assists, including one on the game-winner in the 5-2 win over UConn on Thursday, January 19. In the 3-2 win at Dartmouth on Saturday, January 21, he scored a shorthanded game-winner with just 28 seconds remaining in the third period. Sixsmith now has two shorthanded goals on the season as he had an empty net shorthanded goal in the 4-2 win over Rensselaer at the Ohio Hockey Classic in Columbus, Ohio, on December 30. For the season, Sixsmith is currently third on the team in scoring with six goals and 13 assists for 19 points. This is the fi rst time that Sixsmith has received this honor in his career. As a freshman in the 2003-04 season, he was named to the Atlantic Hockey All-Rookie Team and received Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week honors once. Earlier this season, Sixsmith was named the New England Hockey Journal Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week for his two goal performance in the 4-2 win over Rensselaer on December 30, at the Ohio Hockey Classic. He was also named to the all-tournament team at the Ohio Hockey Classic.
QUESADA SETS HC RECORD FOR WINS: Two weeks ago, 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). Last week, Quesada went 2-0-0 to improve to 9-3-1 this season and now has 48 career wins, including his fi fth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army (10/28) earlier this season. Last week, he made 61 saves on 65 shots with 29 saves against UConn and 32 against Dartmouth. Quesada is currently second all-time at Holy Cross in save percentage (.912), games played (88) and minutes played (5044:26) and saves (2233), while he is third in goals against average (2.56). He is third in Atlantic Hockey and 18th nationally in save percentage (.921). 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 2.14 goals against average is fi rst in the conference and 12th nationally. In addition, his .926 save percentage is second in Atlantic Hockey and 13th in the nation. 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: 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. McGregor leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 10 assists for 25 points. His 15 goals is second in Atlantic Hockey and his .75 goals per game is tied for fourth in the nation. McGregor is fi rst in the conference and tied for third in the nation in power play goals with 10. This season, he had fi ve points with fi ve 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 108 career points ranks him 31st at Holy Cross. Napert-Frenette is second on team in scoring with nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points. His 116 career points ranks him 28th on the Holy Cross all-time points list. Bartlett has been a major factor as he has four goals and 13 assists for 17 points, which is good enough for fourth on the team. For his career, Bartlett has played in 100 games with 24 goals and 37 assists for 61 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 fi fth head coach in the 36-year history of ice hockey at Holy Cross. Pearl has forged a 168-144-30 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 fi rst-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in the 2003-04 season. With the win at Dartmouth (1/21/), Pearl now owns the school record for career coaching victories with 168. The record was previously held by Peter Van Buskirk (1979-88; 1996-97).