March 2, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (21-9-2, 17-7-2 AHA) vs. Bentley (13-14-5, 11-10-5 AHA)
Date: March 3-4
Place: March 3-John A. Ryan Arena (1,200), Watertown, Mass., 7:30 p.m.
March 4-Hart Center (1,600), Worcester, Mass., 7:00 p.m.
Holy Cross Radio: Saturday-WTAG 580 AM, Worcester, Mass.; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play; Mike Maguire, color.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads 17-8-3.
Last Meeting: HC 4, Bentley 1 (2/4/06; Worcester, Mass.).
THIS WEEKEND: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (21-9-2 overall, 17-7-2 Atlantic Hockey) concludes regular season play this weekend when it faces Bentley (13-14-5 overall, 11-10-5 Atlantic Hockey), in a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday, March 3-4. Friday night's game is at the John A. Ryan Arena in Watertown, Mass., at 7:30 p.m., while Saturday night's game is at the Hart Center at 7:00 p.m. With two games to go, the Crusaders (36 points) are currently tied with Sacred Heart (36 points) at the top of the Atlantic Hockey standings, while Mercyhurst (35 points) is in third place and Bentley (27 points) is in fourth. Sacred Heart takes on Connecticut and Mercyhurst faces Canisius this weekend.
THE SERIES WITH BENTLEY: This weekend's games will mark the 29th and 30th meetings between the Crusaders and the Falcons, with Holy Cross leading 17-8-3. The Crusaders swept a home-and-home series between the two teams on February 3-4, with a 2-1 win at Bentley on Friday and a 4-1 win at the Hart Center on Saturday.
THE FALCONS: Bentley swept a weekend home-and-home series against Connecticut last week, as the wins extended Bentley's winning streak to four games, which is the longest for the Falcons at the Division I level. The last four-game winning steak for a Bentley team occurred between November 6-21, 1998. Seniors Paul Markarian and Josh Thompson broke the school record for career games played on Saturday night by appearing in their 126th contest. Junior goaltender Ray Jean is just the seventh goaltender in school history to record 10 wins in a season and only the second at the Division I level as he is 10-10-4. Jean has a 2.94 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. Ryan Mayhew and Markarian are now tied as Bentley's Division I all-time leaders with 32 goals scored. Markarian is third on Bentley's Division I list with 73 career points, while Mayhew became just the fourth player to reach 70 career points at Division I with a goal and an assist on Friday night as he now has 71 points. A trio of freshmen continue to pace Bentley in scoring as Anthony Canzoneri, Jeff Gumaer and Dain Prewitt are having outstanding freshman seasons. Canzoneri leads the team with 19 assists and 27 points, while Jeff Gumaer is second on the team with 22 points and leads the team with 15 goals. The 15 goals in a season is tied for second most all-time for a Bentley player at the D-I level. Dain Prewitt (8-12-20) is the only other Bentley player with 20 points this season. This season marks the first time since 1980-81 that three freshmen have netted 20 points in one season for Bentley.
HC IN THE RANKINGS: The Crusaders' .688 overall winning percentage this season is fifth in the nation. Holy Cross is third in the AHA and tied for 20th in the nation in scoring defense with 2.53 goals allowed per game, while it is first in the AHA and fifth in the nation in penalty kill percentage (87.1). Offensively, the Crusaders are second in the AHA and 13th in the nation in scoring offense (3.38 goals per game), while they are first in the AHA and third in the nation in power play conversion percentage (22.7).
THE WEEK THAT WAS: The Crusaders were swept be Sacred Heart in a home-and-home series last week as they lost 4-3 (OT) at home on Friday and fell 5-2 on the road on Saturday. On Friday, Sacred Heart's Pierre-Luc O'Brien scored with four seconds left in overtime to give the Pioneers the victory. Junior Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.), and sophomores Matt Burke (Milton, Mass) and Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) each scored a goal for Holy Cross, while senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 31 saves. On Saturday night, Landry and junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) each scored a goal, while Quesada stopped 29 shots.
HC APPROACHING SCHOOL RECORD FOR WINS: With 21 wins so far this season, the Crusaders are the fifth team in school history to reach the 20 win mark and are approaching the school single season record for wins (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.
LOVING THE ROAD: The Crusaders are 12-3-1 on their opponent's home ice this season and their 12 wins is a new school record. The 1998-99 and 1979-80 teams each had 10 wins. This year, Holy Cross has defeated Massachusetts (10/21), Bentley (2/3), 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) and Mercyhurst (2/17). Holy Cross' only three losses are to Sacred Heart (1/6, 2/25) and Army (1/14), while it tied Mercyhurst (2/18).
STRONG SPECIAL TEAMS: Holy Cross' 22.7 power play percentage is currently ranked third in the nation and its 87.1 penalty kill percentage is fifth best in the nation. Both percentages lead Atlantic Hockey. The Crusaders have scored 41 goals on 181 power plays, while they have given up only 23 goals on a 177 power plays.
QUESADA NAMED A WALTER BROWN SEMIFINALIST: Senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the 54th Walter Brown Award as announced by Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president George Crotty. The award is presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. Quesada is the fourth Holy Cross player to be named a semifinalist for this award in the program's history, along with Jim Stewart, Patrick Rissmiller and Tony Coskren. The winner will be announced in mid-March, and the award will be presented at the New England College Hockey Writers' dinner in April. The candidates include 12 players from Hockey East, two from the ECAC Hockey League, and one from Atlantic Hockey.
SOLID DEFENSE: Holy Cross is ranked third in Atlantic Hockey and 20th nationally in scoring defense with 2.53 goals allowed per game. The Crusaders have also received an offensive spark from their defensemen. Junior Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) has scored one goal in three straight games as he is sixth on the team in scoring with seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points. He is second in the conference and 20th nationally in points per game by a defenseman with .71. Sophomore Matt Burke (Milton, Mass.) is seventh on the team in scoring with three goals and 15 assists for 18 points. Junior Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) is ninth in scoring and freshman Shane McAdam (Hamilton, Ontario) is 10th. Godfrey has four goals and nine assists for 13 points, while McAdam has three goals and nine assists for 12 points. Senior Marc Bianchi (Ithaca, N.Y.) has chipped in with one goal and six assists for seven points.
QUESADA RULING THE CHARTS: Senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) currently owns four of the six all-time career goaltending records at Holy Cross. He ranks first all-time for save percentage (.914), wins (55), games played (98) and minutes played (5613:26). Quesada is second in saves (2503) and goals against average (2.53). He is now 16-5-2 on the season and his .739 winning percentage is fourth in the nation. Quesada's career record now stands at 55-32-8 (.621). The Crusaders are 10-2-1 in the last 13 games that Quesada has played in. This season, he is third in the AHA and 13th nationally in save percentage (.923), while he is second in the AHA and 24th in the nation in goals against average (2.40).
McGREGOR HAVING A CAREER YEAR: Senior Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) is having his best season at Holy Cross. McGregor leads the team in scoring with 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points, which are all career highs. His .71 goals per game ranks him fifth in the country, while his 1.48 points per game is fourth nationally. McGregor's 129 career points (66 goals, 63 assists) is tied for 19th all-time at Holy Cross with John Gillis (1984-88), while his 136 games played is tied for third. He is second in the league in goals and his 11 power plays goals is second in the league and tied for sixth in the nation. His 11 power play goals ties him for third for a single season at Holy Cross. McGregor has been named AHA Player of the Week twice this season.
NAPERT-FRENETTE SETS HC RECORD: Senior captain Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) now holds the Holy Cross all-time record for career games played with 139. The record was 138 by Tim Coskren (2000-04). Napert-Frenette is currently second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points. His 128 career points ranks him tied for 21st on the Holy Cross all-time points list.
SENIOR DAY: Saturday night's game will be the final regular season game for the seven Holy Cross seniors. Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario), Marc Bianchi (Ithaca, N.Y.), Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.), Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario), Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick), Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) and Andrew Weber (Hanson, Mass.) have all contributed in their four years at Holy Cross as they have tallied 161 goals and 206 assists for 367 points. The seven seniors have played in a combined 704 games and were a major factor in Holy Cross winning the Atlantic Hockey Championship and earning the school's first ever bid into the NCAA Tournament as sophomores in the 2003-04 season.
AHA TOURNEY AT HART CENTER: The Crusaders have clinched home ice for an Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal game on March 11. As announced before the season, Holy Cross will also host the AHA Semifinals and Finals on March 17-18.
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 and is the winningest coach in the program's history. He is just the fifth head coach in the 36-year history of ice hockey at Holy Cross. Pearl has forged a 175-147-31 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 set 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).