First-Place Crusaders Set To Host Canisius This Weekend

Feb. 9, 2006

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The Teams: Holy Cross (19-6-1, 15-4-1 AHA) vs. Canisius

Date: February 10-11

Time: 7:00 p.m.

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

Holy Cross Radio: Friday-WTAG 580 AM, Worcester, Mass. Dick Lutsk, play-by-play; Mike Maguire, color.

HC Student Radio: Saturday-WCHC 88.1 FM, Worcester, Mass.

Series Record: Holy Cross leads 17-7-7.

Last Meeting: Holy Cross 5, Canisius 1 (12/3/05; Buffalo, N.Y.).

THIS WEEKEND: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (19-6-1 overall, 15-4-1 Atlantic Hockey) returns to the ice this weekend when its hosts a two-game series with Canisius (8-17-1 overall, 6-13-1 Atlantic Hockey), at the Hart Center on Friday and Saturday, February 10-11. Both games are set to start at 7:00 p.m. This series features the two hottest teams in the league as Holy Cross has won seven straight games and nine of 10, while Canisius has won three in a row. Earlier in the season, Holy Cross swept Canisius at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. The Crusaders are currently in first place with 31 points with a two-point lead over Sacred Heart and a three-point lead ahead of Mercyhurst. The Golden Griffins are in sixth place with 13 points. Holy Cross' seven game winning streak is the second longest in the country, behind Boston University's nine game streak.

THE SERIES WITH CANISIUS: This weekend's games will mark the 32nd and 33rd meetings between the Crusaders and the Golden Griffins, with Holy Cross leading 17-7-7. Holy Cross swept Canisius on Dec. 2-3, by scores of 4-2 and 5-1, at the Buffalo State Sports Arena. Last season, the Crusaders won the series, 2-0-1.

HC IN THE RANKINGS: The Crusaders' .750 overall winning percentage this season is third in the nation. Holy Cross is third in the AHA and tied for 12th in the nation in scoring defense with 2.38 goals allowed per game, while it is first in the AHA and second in the nation in penalty kill percentage (90.6). Offensively, the Crusaders are second in the AHA and tied for 10th in the nation in scoring offense (3.42 goals per game), while they are second in the AHA and fourth in the nation in power play conversion percentage (21.8).

THE GOLDEN GRIFFINS: After dropping 11 games in a row, Canisius has bounced back to win three straight. The golden Griffins are led by junior Michael Cohen's 25 points with 10 goals and 15 assists, while sophomore Joel Kitchen is second on the team in scoring with six goals and 12 assists for 18 points. Junior Joey Coccimiglio and senior Brandon Irish-Baker each have 17 points. Coccimiglio has seven goals and 10 assists, while Irish-Baker has five goals and 12 assists. Freshman goalie Dan Giffin has played in four straight games and is 4-7-0 this season. He has a 2.67 goals against average and his .923 save percentage ranks 16th in the nation.

THE WEEK THAT WAS: Last week the Crusaders swept a home-and-home series with Bentley in their first meeting of the season with the Falcons. Sophomore Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) scored the game-winning goal and senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 23 saves in the 2-1 win at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena, on Friday. Junior Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) scored the first goal of the game in the first period and Reinhardt gave the Crusaders a 2-0 lead at 1:24 into the second period. In the 4-1 victory at the Hart Center on Saturday night, the Crusaders scored four unanswered goals and Quesada made 26 saves. After Bentley took a 1-0 lead at the 16:10 mark of the second period, junior Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) tied the game with less than a minute to go in the period. Junior Tanner Fogarty (McMurray, Pa.), senior Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) and junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) all scored third period goals to clinch the win.

CRUSADERS ON A WINNING STREAK: Holy Cross has won seven straight games for the first time since the 2002-03 season and currently have the second longest streak in the nation behind Boston University's nine game winning streak. The longest winning streak in school-history is 10 which was set in the 1979-80 season. The last time the Crusaders have won seven or more in a row was in the 1998-99 season when they won nine.

HC APPROACHING SCHOOL RECORD FOR WINS: With 19 wins so far this season, the Crusaders are approaching the school single season record for wins which is 22. Both the 1998-99 and 2003-04 teams had 22 victories. The Crusaders have reached the 20 win mark on two other occasions, with 21 wins in the 1979-80 season and 20 wins in the 1982-83 season.

DEFENDING HOME ICE: The Crusaders have been outstanding at the Hart Center this season with a 7-2-1 record. Holy Cross has an all-time record of 270-158-22 at the Hart Center since defeating Fairfield, 11-1, in the first game played in the building on December 2, 1975. This season the Crusaders have defeated Army (10/28-29), Mercyhurst (11/11), Sacred Heart (1/7), Connecticut (1/19), AIC (1/28) and Bentley (2/4). Holy Cross fell to Connecticut (11/5) and Mercyhurst (11/12), while it tied AIC (11/18).

LOVING THE ROAD: The Crusaders are 11-2-0 on their opponent's home ice this season. They have defeated Massachusetts (10/21), Connecticut (11/4, 1/24), American International (11/19, 1/27), 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), Army (1/14) and Bentley (2/3).

2ND IN THE NATION IN PENALTY KILLING: Holy Cross' 90.6 penalty kill percentage is currently the second best in the nation behind Maine's 91.6. The Crusaders have allowed only 14 goals on 148 power play opportunities for its opponents which also leads the AHA. Holy Cross has not allowed a power play goal since the 3-2 win at Dartmouth on January 21. In the last five games, the Crusaders' opponents are 0-23 on the power play

STRONG DEFENSE: Holy Cross is ranked third in Atlantic Hockey and 12th in scoring defense with 2.38 goals allowed per game. The Crusaders have also received an offensive spark from their defensemen. Junior Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) is sixth on the team in scoring with four goals and 14 assists for 18 points. He is second in the conference and 20th nationally in points per game by a defenseman with .72. Junior Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) and sophomore Matt Burke (Milton, Mass.) are tied for seventh on the team in scoring with 12 points each. Godfrey has four goals and eight assists, while Burke has two goals and 10 assists. Freshman Shane McAdam (Hamilton, Ontario) has had a solid rookie season as he is tied for ninth on the team in scoring with three goals and eight assists for 11 points, while senior Marc Bianchi (Ithaca, N.Y.) has chipped in with one goal and six assists for seven points.

QUESADA NAMED AHA GOALIE OF THE WEEK: Senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) went a perfect 2-0-0 last week against Bentley as he made 49 saves on 51 shots. His performance earned him AHA Goaltender of the Week honors for the second time this season and fifth of his career. Quesada is now 14-3-1 on the season and has a career record of 53-30-7 (.628), including his fifth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army (10/28), earlier this season. The Crusaders have won eight straight games when Quesada has been net and his .806 winning percentage is the second best in the nation. Quesada has played in eight of the last nine games. He currently owns all-time school records in wins (53) and save percentage (.914), while he is tied for first all-time in goals against average (2.51). Quesada is also second all-time at Holy Cross in games played (93), minutes played (5304:26) and saves (2354). This season, he is second in the AHA and is 10th nationally in save percentage (.927), while he is second in the AHA and 14th in the nation in goals against average (2.24).

McGREGOR ON A ROLL: Senior captain Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) is on a seven-game scoring streak with four goals and 12 assists for 16 points. Last week against Bentley, he had an assist on Friday night and a goal and an assist on Saturday. McGregor leads the team in scoring with 19 goals and 18 assists for 37 points. His 37 points and 18 assists are already personal career highs for a single-season. McGregor's .76 goals per game is third best in the nation and his 1.48 points per game is fifth nationally. McGregor leads the league in goals and his 10 power plays goals is first in the league and tied for fourth in the nation. McGregor has 120 career points which ranks him 26th all-time at Holy Cross, as he has 63 goals and 57 assists in 130 games played. His 10 power play goals ties him for fourth for a single season at Holy Cross. McGregor has been named AHA Player of the Week twice this season.

NAPERT-FRENETTE HAVING GREAT SENIOR YEAR: Senior captain Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) is second on team in scoring with 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points. His 121 career points ties him for 25th on the Holy Cross all-time points list, while he is sixth in game played with 133.

REINHARDT EARNS AHA WEEKLY HONORS: Sophomore Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) had a goal and two assists last week in the series with Bentley as he was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week. He scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win at Bentley on Friday night, while he added two assists in the 4-1 victory on Saturday night. Reinhardt has earned points in eight straight games with four goals and 11 assists for 15 points. He is now third on the team in scoring with eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points. Last season, Reinhardt was named AHA Rookie of the Week on Jan. 10, 2005. For his career, he has 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 points.

CLUTCH PERFORMER: Junior Tanner Fogarty (McMurray, Pa.) has come up big for the Crusaders this season as all three of his goals are game-winners. He has scored game-winning goals against Mercyhurst (11/11), Sacred Heart (1/7) and Bentley (2/4). Fogarty, who is also a member of the Holy Cross men's lacrosse team, has added three assists on the season.

4-2-0 IN NON-CONFERENCE GAMES: The Crusaders concluded their non-conference schedule with a 4-2-0 record. Holy Cross went 3-0-0 in games against an ECACHL opponent with a win at Dartmouth and two wins over Rensselaer. Holy Cross defeated Hockey East member UMass in the season-opener, while it fell to Nebraska-Omaha and Ohio State.

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 173-144-30 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. With the win at Dartmouth (1/21), Pearl now owns the school record for career coaching victories. The record was previously held by Peter Van Buskirk who has 167 career wins (1979-88; 1996-97).