January 24, 2007

Crusaders Return To Action At #20 Quinnipiac On Sunday

Jan. 24, 2007

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

The Teams: Holy Cross (9-13-4, 8-9-4 AHA) vs. #20 Quinnipiac (11-8-4, 8-3-3 ECACHL)

Date: January 28

Time: 12:00 p.m.

Place: TD Banknorth Sports Center (3,286), Hamden, Conn.

Television: ESPNU-Bill Schweizer, play-by-play; Rich Coppola, color; Bill Mecca, sidelines

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

Series Record: Quinnipiac leads 15-5-3

Last Meeting: Holy Cross 5, Quinnipiac 2 (2/12/05; Boston, Mass.)

SUNDAY AT NOON: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (9-13-4 overall, 8-9-4 Atlantic Hockey) will travel to Hamden, Conn., to take on No. 20 Quinnipiac (11-8-4 overall, 8-3-3 ECACHL), on Sunday, January 28 at noon. This will be the first men's hockey game played in Quinnipiac's new TD Banknorth Sports Center as the game will also be televised on ESPNU. The Crusaders are coming off a split of a two-game series with AIC at the Hart Center last weekend, while the Bobcats dropped two games at Niagara and are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. Holy Cross has played 21 Atlantic Hockey games and is in fifth place with 20 points, while Quinnipiac has played in 14 ECACHL contests and is in first place with 19 points.

THE SERIES WITH QUINNIPIAC: Sunday's game will mark the 24th meeting between the Crusaders and the Bobcats with Quinnipiac leading the series, 15-5-3. This will only be the second time that these two former MAAC and Atlantic Hockey rivals meet as non-conference opponents. The only other time was in the first contest of the series on January 2, 1998, when Holy Cross won by a 4-1 score in the Crusader Classic in Worcester. The Crusaders went 2-1 against the Bobcats in the 2004-05 season, including a 5-2 win over Quinnipiac on February 12, 2005, at the Fleet Center in the last game between the two teams.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Crusaders are set to play four straight games on the road before returning to the Hart Center a little less than a month later for a game with Sacred Heart on February 16. After the Quinnipiac game, the Crusaders will play at Army (2/3) and at Canisius (2/9-10). The Crusaders are no strangers to road trips as earlier this season Holy Cross played nine consecutive games on the road. The Crusaders are 2-9-2 on their opponents' home ice this season.

STRONG ON THE POWER PLAY: Holy Cross' 21.3 power play percentage is ranked 10th in the nation and second in Atlantic Hockey. Senior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) is tied for 13th in the nation in power play goals with seven, while junior Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) is tied for 19th in the country with six power play goals.

HOLY CROSS VERSUS ECACHL: The Crusaders have an all-time record of 18-41-0 against teams currently in the ECACHL. Holy Cross is 3-2-0 in its last five games against an ECACHL opponent. The Crusaders went a perfect 3-0-0 last season with two wins over Rensselaer and a 3-2 victory over Dartmouth, while this season Holy Cross fell at Yale by a 2-1 score on October 27 and at Dartmouth, 4-0, on January 16.

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 74 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 SETS POINTS RECORD: With his goal in the 4-3 win over AIC on January, 20, senior captain James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) now has 144 career points (44 goals and 100 assists) which moves him to first on the Holy Cross all-time Division I career points list. Holy Cross started full Division I competition in the 1998-99 season. He passes current San Jose Shark Patrick Rissmiller (1998-2002) who had 143 points. Sixsmith, who already holds the Division I record for career assists, is also just the fifth Crusader since the start of varsity action (1966-1967 season) to reach 100 assists. His 44 goals are seventh on the HC Division I goals list. Sixsmith leads the team in assists (26) and points (39), while he is tied for first in goals (13). His 1.50 points per game are tied for third in the nation and his 1.00 assists per game are tied for second nationally. 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 1.04 points per game by a defenseman are first in Atlantic Hockey and second in the nation. Landry is third on the team in goals (nine), while he is second in assists (18) and tied for second in points (27). Seven of Landry's nine goals are on the power play as his seven power play goals are tied for 13th in the nation. He has played in 132 career games with 24 goals and 62 assists for 86 points, as his 62 assists are ninth all-time on the Holy Cross Division I list and his 86 points are ninth.

REINHARDT ON A ROLL: Junior center Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) has 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points, as he is tied for the team-lead in goals, while he is third in assists and tied for second in points. His three game-winning goals lead the team and are tied for 20th nationally, while his two shorthanded goals are tied for 10th in the nation. He had a goal in the Friday game with AIC and then he earned an assist in Saturday's game. For his career, Reinhardt has 35 goals and 50 assists for 85 points in 94 career games. His 35 goals are tied for ninth on the Holy Cross all-time Division I chart and his 50 points are tied for 10th.

THE BOBCATS: Quinnipiac is currently ranked No. 20 in the USCHO.com national poll as it is the sixth straight week in the poll for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac has the fourth best penalty kill percentage (89.3) in the nation. The Bobcats are led by freshman Brandon Wong's 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points as his 1.22 points per game by a freshman are tied for third in the nation. Defensively the Bobcats are led by senior defenseman Reid Cashman who has a goal and 14 assists for 15 points this year as last season as he was a second-team All-America selection. Sophomore Bud Fisher has played in all 23 games in net with a 2.62 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.

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 190-161-35 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. As a four-year letterwinner for the Crusaders, he played in 125 games as a defenseman, tallying 14 goals and 63 assists. Pearl led Holy Cross with 25 assists as a senior captain on the 1988-89 squad. During his four-year playing-career, Holy Cross won 63 games and qualified for the ECAC East Tournament twice.

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 three goals and 10 assists in 48 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.