Aug. 5, 2008
WORCESTER, Mass.- The 2008-2009 Holy Cross men's hockey team returns 16 players, including four starters and eight of its top 10 point producers from a year ago (10-19-7, 9-15-4 Atlantic Hockey), to a team that will be looking to capture its third AHA championship and third NCAA Tournament appearance.
"The team is excited to come back and have a successful season," said 14th-year head coach Paul Pearl, the all-time winningest coach in the program's history. "We went through some tough times last year but we played two great games in the playoffs and I think that positive momentum will carry over to the start of practice."
The team will be led by its co-captains, senior defenseman Marty Dams and junior forward Ryan Driscoll. "Both of them are great players," said Pearl. "You have to be a great player for the guys to respect you and vote for you as captain. Ryan is a determined player. He is a really tough kid and will do what ever that is asked of him. Marty is also a tough player, while he also keeps things light in the locker room. So it is a good combination of captains."
Pearl sees the importance of how well the defense plays as a major factor in the success of the season, including the play of the four freshmen defenders. "For us to be successful, the strength of our team has to be our defense," said Pearl. "I think we will be pretty good up front. We have to improve in scoring five-on-five, but our power play was outstanding last year, so we should be good offensively. If we can increase our goals per game average up by a half a goal we will be as good as anyone in the league in terms of scoring goals. It is defensively where we have to be great. The three championships we have won were because of our defense. We have to be a team that only gives up two or less goals a game."