March 6, 2007

Crusaders To Face Air Force In Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals

March 6, 2007

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

The Teams: Holy Cross (10-19-5, 9-14-5 AHA) vs. Air Force (16-15-5, 13-10-5 AHA)

Date: March 10

Time: 9:35 p.m. (EST)

Place: Cadet Ice Arena (2,502), Colorado Springs, Colo.

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

Series Record: Air Force leads 9-4-4

Last Meeting: HC 2, Air Force 2 (1/13/07; Worcester, Mass.)

2006-07 Series: Tied 0-0-2

SATURDAY NIGHT: The fifth-seeded and defending Atlantic Hockey Tournament champion Holy Cross men's hockey team (10-19-5 overall, 9-14-5 Atlantic Hockey) will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., to face fourth seeded Air Force (16-15-5 overall, 13-10-5 Atlantic Hockey), in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament on Saturday, March 10. The game is set to start at 9:35 p.m. (EST). The Crusaders finished the regular season with 23 points, while the Falcons earned the fourth seed with 31 points. Holy Cross tied both games with Air Force by a score of 2-2 on January 12-13 at the Hart Center, in the teams two previous meetings this season. The winner will advance to the semifinals held at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., on Friday, March 16. The finals are set for March 17 in Rochester. This is the first time these two teams have met in the postseason, as this is Air Force's first season as a member of Atlantic Hockey.

HC IN AHA TOURNAMENT: The Crusaders have a 7-1 record all-time in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament as they have won two of the first three titles (2004 & 2006). Last year at the Hart Center, Holy Cross defeated AIC in the quarterfinals (3-1), UConn in the semifinals (4-1) and Bentley in the championship game (5-2), earning their second title and second NCAA Tournament appearance. Holy Cross won the first-ever AHA Tournament in 2004, earning the program's first ever spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Crusaders defeated AIC (5-0), Canisius (4-1) and Sacred Heart in the title game (4-0). In 2005, Holy Cross defeated Sacred Heart, 4-2, in the quarterfinals, but then fell to eventual champion Mercyhurst, 4-3 (OT), in the semifinals. In 1999, the Crusaders won the MAAC Tournament Championship by defeating Canisius, 4-3, in the finals.

THE SERIES WITH AIR FORCE: Saturday night's game will mark the 18th meeting between the Crusaders and the Falcons, with Air Force leading the all-time series 9-4-4. The Falcons won the first meeting on February 5, 1993 by a score of 4-3. Holy Cross has a 1-1-3 record in the last five games against the Falcons, while the Crusaders are 2-5-1 all-time at Air Force.

THE FALCONS: Air Force is led by junior Eric Ehn who leads the nation in scoring with 60 points (24 goals and 36 assists). His 1.67 points per game also lead the nation, while his 1.00 assists per game are second nationally and his .67 goals per game are sixth in the country. Senior Andrew Ramsey is also having an outstanding year as he has 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points. Ramsey is tied for eighth in the nation in points per game with 1.33. Sophomore Mike Phillipich is third on the team in scoring with 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points. The Falcons have four goalies that have all seen key playing time. Senior Peter Foster has a 3.01 goals against average, a .864 save percentage and a 4-6-3 record in 856:20, while senior Ben Worker has a 2.33 goals against average, a .895 save percentage and a 5-5-1 record in 644:47. Junior Ian Harper has played in 328:06 with a 2.56 goals against average, a .889 save percentage and a 4-3-1 record, while freshman Andrew Volkening has played in 327:07 with a 2.75 goals against average, a .884 save percentage and a 3-1-0 record. Air Force has set a school-record for Division I wins with 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 75 wins, two Atlantic Hockey titles, two NCAA Tournaments and one NCAA Tournament victory. Their 75 wins is the second most in a four-year period in school-history.

SIXSMITH SETS POINTS RECORD: With his goal in the 4-3 win over AIC on January 20, senior captain James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) moved to first on the Holy Cross all-time Division I career points list. He passed current San Jose Shark Patrick Rissmiller (1998-2002) who had 143 points. Sixsmith now has 152 career points (48 goals and 104 assists) in 141 games played. Holy Cross started full Division I competition in the 1998-99 season. Sixsmith leads the team in goals (17), assists (30) and points (47) this season. His 1.38 points per game are fifth in the nation and second in Atlantic Hockey, while his .88 assists per game are seventh nationally and are third in the conference. Sixsmith's 30 assists tie Rissmiller for the Holy Cross Division I single-season assists record. Rissmiller set the record in the 2001-02 season. Sixsmith who already holds the school's Division I career points and assists records, is now tied for eighth on the all-time points list with 152, dating back to the first varsity season in 1966-67. His 48 goals are sixth on the HC Division I goals list.

REINHARDT ON A ROLL: Junior center Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) has 16 goals, 18 assists and 34 points, as he is second on the team in goals and points, while he is tied for second in assists. His three game-winning goals lead the team and are tied for 34th nationally, while his two shorthanded goals are tied for 23rd in the nation. For his career, Reinhardt has 38 goals and 54 assists for 92 points in 102 career games. His 38 goals are tied for eighth on the Holy Cross all-time Division I chart and his 92 points are also tied for eighth.

STRONG ON THE POWER PLAY: Holy Cross' 19.5 power play percentage is ranked 13th in the nation and second in Atlantic Hockey. The Crusaders scored two power play goals in the home-and-home series with UConn on February 23-24 with one in each game.

SIXSMITH NAMED WALTER BROWN SEMIFINALIST: James Sixsmith recently was named one of 15 semifinalists for the 55th Walter Brown Award presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. Sixsmith is the fifth Holy Cross player to be named a semifinalist for this award in the program's history, along with Jim Stewart, Patrick Rissmiller, Tony Coskren and Tony Quesada. The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston plans to announce the finalists and winner of the 55th Walter Brown Award in March, following league playoffs and before the start of NCAA Tournament play.

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 191-167-36 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 five goals and 13 assists in 65 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.