Holy Cross Set To Face UConn In Semis

March 16, 2006

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Atlantic Hockey Semifinals

The Teams: Holy Cross (24-9-2, 19-7-2 AHA) vs. UConn (11-22-2, 9-18-1 AHA)

Date: March 17

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

Time: 4:00 p.m.

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

Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM

Series Record With UConn: Holy Cross leads 39-37-1

Last Meeting: HC 5, UConn 3 (1/24/06; Storrs, Conn.)

Series Record With Mercyhurst: Mercyhurst leads 14-7-2

Last Meeting: HC 3, Mercyhurst 3 (2/18/06; Erie, Pa.)

Series Record With Bentley: Holy Cross leads 19-8-3

Last Meeting: HC 3, Bentley 2 (3/4/06; Worcester, Mass.)

THIS WEEKEND: The Hart Center will host the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals and Finals this weekend, as the top-seeded and No. 20 in the nation Holy Cross men's hockey team (24-9-2 overall, 19-7-2 Atlantic Hockey) will face No. 6 seed Connecticut (11-22-2 overall, 9-18-1 Atlantic Hockey), on Friday, March 17, at 4:00 p.m. Holy Cross won the season series with UConn with a 3-1-0 mark. This is the first time that these two teams have met in the three-year history of the AHA Tournament. The winner of this game will face the winner of the second semifinal featuring No. 2 seed Mercyhurst (22-12-1, 19-8-1 AHA) and No. 4 seed Bentley (14-16-5, 11-12-5 AHA) at 7:30 p.m., in the championship game on Saturday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m.

HC IN AHA TOURNAMENT: With their 3-1 win over AIC in the quarterfinals, the Crusaders now have a 5-1 record all-time in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament. Holy Cross won the inaugural 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). Last year, 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 HUSKIES: UConn defeated Sacred Heart 4-1 on Saturday night. Junior Matt Scherer led the team in offense with a hat-trick as he had two goals in the first period and his third in the final period. Sophomore goaltender Brad Smith led the team in defense with a school record-breaking 52 saves on 53 shots. Junior Cole Koidahl leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points. Scherer leads the team in goals with 15.

THE LAKERS: Mercyhurst's offense is led by senior Dave Borrelli and sophomore Ben Cottreau who each have 50 points. Borrelli has 28 goals and 22 assists, while Cottreau has 17 goals and 33 assists. Freshman Tyler Small has seen the majority of the action in net for the Lakers as he is 14-5-1 with a 2.79 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.

THE FALCONS: Freshman Anthony Canzoneri leads the Falcons in scoring with eight goals and 21 assists for 29 points. Freshmen Jeff Gumaer and Dain Prewitt are tied for second on the team in scoring, as Gumaer has 15 goals and eight assists and Prewitt has 10 goals and 13 assists. Junior Ray Jean has a 11-12-4 record in net this season with a 2.81 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.

HC IN THE RANKINGS: Holy Cross is currently No. 20 in the latest USCHO.com/CSTV Division I Men's Hockey Poll. This is the first time that Holy Cross has been ranked in this poll in the program's history. The Crusaders' .714 overall winning percentage this season is fourth in the nation behind Minnesota (.776), Miami of Ohio (.750) and Wisconsin (.716). Holy Cross is second in the AHA and 16th in the nation in scoring defense with 2.40 goals allowed per game, while it is first in the AHA and fifth in the nation in penalty kill percentage (87.6). Offensively, the Crusaders are third in the AHA and 16th in the nation in scoring offense (3.29 goals per game), while they are second in the AHA and sixth in the nation in power play conversion percentage (21.2).

HC ADVANCES TO SEMIS: Holy Cross earned its spot in the semifinals with a 3-1 win over AIC on Saturday, March 11 at the Hart Center. Sophomore Matt Burke (Milton, Mass.) scored the game winning goal in the third period and senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 20 saves to improve to 19-5-2 on the season. His 19 wins ties the school record for wins in a season. Senior Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) and junior Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) each scored a goal for the Crusaders.

CRUSADERS SET SCHOOL RECORD FOR WINS: With 24 wins this season, the Crusaders have set a new school record for wins in a single-season. They are the fifth team in school history to reach the 20 win mark. 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.

SIX CRUSADERS HONORED BY ATLANTIC HOCKEY: The Atlantic Hockey Association announced its regular season award winners and All-Conference teams at the Atlantic Hockey Tournament banquet at Holy Cross on Thursday night. Six different Crusaders were honored, while Holy Cross also received the Team Sportsmanship Award. Senior forward Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) earned four honors as he was named the Player of the Year, earned a spot on the All-Conference first team, received the Individual Sportsmanship Award and earned the co-Regular Season Scoring Trophy. McGregor (21 goals and 22 assists) tied with Ben Cottreau (17 goals and 26 assists) for the most points in conference games with 43. Junior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) was also selected to the All-Conference first team, while senior forward Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) and senior goalie Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) earned spots on the second team. Quesada earned the Regular Season Goaltending Award for his 2.22 goals against average in league games. Senior forward Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) received the Best Defensive Forward Award and junior Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) earned the Best Defensive Defenseman Award. Last year, McGregor also received first team honors and Napert-Frenette received second team.

SENIOR SALUTE: This year's senior class consisting of 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.) has left a huge impact on Holy Cross hockey. This group of seniors has been a part of 79 wins, which are the most wins in a four year period in the history of the program. They have also won the most games on the road in a four year period, including a school record 13 wins this season. As sophomores they were key contributors to the team that won the Atlantic Hockey Championship and earned the school's first ever bid into the NCAA Tournament.

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 second in Atlantic Hockey and 16th nationally in scoring defense with 2.40 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 eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points, which are all career highs. He is second in the conference and 18th nationally in points per game by a defenseman with .74. Sophomore Matt Burke (Milton, Mass.) is seventh on the team in scoring with four goals and 15 assists for 19 points. Junior Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) is ninth in scoring and freshman Shane McAdam (Hamilton, Ontario) is 10th. Godfrey has four goals and 11 assists for 15 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 five of the six all-time career goaltending records at Holy Cross and is tied for the single-season record for wins. He ranks first all-time for save percentage (.915), goals against average (2.49), wins (58), games played (101) and minutes played (5793:26), while he is second in saves (2571). He is now 19-5-2 on the season and his .769 winning percentage is third in the nation. Quesada's 19 wins ties the school record for wins in a season with Mark Young who set the record in the 1979-80 season. His .926 save percentage this season is currently a single-season school record. Quesada's career record now stands at 58-32-8 (.633). The Crusaders are 13-2-1 in the last 15 games that Quesada has played in. This season, he is second in the AHA and eighth nationally in save percentage (.926), while he is first in the AHA and 17th in the nation in goals against average (2.23).

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 26 assists for 48 points, which are all career highs. His .65 goals per game ranks him eighth in the country, while his 1.41 points per game is seventh nationally. McGregor's 131 career points (66 goals, 65 assists) is tied for 19th all-time at Holy Cross with senior Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick), while his 139 games played is second. He is second in the league in goals and his 11 power plays goals is second in the league and tied for eighth 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 and four times in his career.

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 142. His 131 career points with 51 goals and 80 assists ranks him tied for 19th with senior Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) on the Holy Cross all-time points list.

SIXSMITH APPROACHING 100 POINTS: Junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) has 98 career points which puts him two points shy of becoming the 37th Crusader and third this season to reach 100 points. Sixsmith is tied for fourth on the team in scoring this season with nine goals and 24 assists for 33 points.

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 178-147-31 record at his alma mater and has been the man behind the bench in seven of the nine 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).