Oct. 13, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (0-0-0, 0-0-0 AHA) vs. Niagara (1-2-0, 0-0-0 CHA)
Date: October 14
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Dwyer Arena (1,600), Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Series Record: Niagara leads 0-2-0.
Last Meeting: Niagara 6, HC 0 (1/11/00; Niagara Falls, N.Y.).
THIS WEEKEND: The Holy Cross men's hockey team will kick off the 2006-07 season when it hits the road to face Niagara (1-2-0 overall, 0-0-0 College Hockey America), at the Dwyer Arena in Niagara Falls, N.Y., on Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m. Holy Cross returns 21 letterwinners and welcomes seven newcomers. The Crusaders are coming off a 2-2 tie with the University of Ottawa in an exhibition game. Junior Chris Trovato (North Attleboro, Mass.) and freshman Peter Lorinser (Marquette, Mich.) each registered goals to lead the Crusaders. Freshmen goalies Ian Dams (Manotick, Ontario) and Tyler Chestnut (Faribault, Minn.) split time in net with Dams making 13 saves and Chestnut stopping 10 shots.
THE SERIES WITH NIAGARA: Saturday night's game will mark the third meeting between the Crusaders and the Purple Eagles, with Niagara leading 2-0-0 with a 3-0 win on January 3, 1999 at Holy Cross and a 6-0 win on January 11, 2000 at Niagara.
HC IN SEASON-OPENERS: Holy Cross is 15-23-2 all-time in season-openers, including three straight wins all on the road. Last season, the Crusaders defeated Hockey East member UMass-Amherst, 3-2.
THE PURPLE EAGLES: Niagara enters the game with a 1-2-0 overall record, with a 7-3 season-opening loss at Clarkson, a 4-3 win at St. Lawrence and a 2-1 defeat to Colgate. Sophomores Les Reaney and Ted Cook each have two goals and three assists for five points to lead the team in scoring, while senior Sean Bentivoglio has a goal and three assists for four points. Sophomore Juliano Pagliero has a 2.50 goals against average and .921 save percentage with a 1-1 record in net. Last season, The Purple Eagles finished with a 20-15-1 overall record and 13-6-1 record in the CHA.
HC PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross has been picked to finish third in the Atlantic Hockey Association Preseason Coaches Poll. The Crusaders received 83 total points with one first place vote. Mercyhurst was picked as this year's preseason favorite with 96 points and seven first place votes, followed by Sacred Heart with 88 points and two first place votes. Following Holy Cross, Connecticut was picked fourth with 55 points, and Air Force and Bentley tied for fifth with 51 points each. Canisius (45 points), Rochester Institute of Technology (36 points), Army (32 points) and American International College (13 points) were picked in positions seven through 10 by the league's head coaches.
SENIOR SALUTE: Holy Cross will look to seniors Tanner Fogarty (McMurray, Pa.), Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario), Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.), Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) and captain James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) as a group for leadership, as this class has been part of 65 wins, two Atlantic Hockey titles, two NCAA Tournaments and one NCAA Tournament victory.
CAPTAIN James Sixsmith: Senior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) will serve as the team captain for the 2006-07 season. Sixsmith was third on the team in points (40) last year with 12 goals and 28 assists, and he has 105 career points making him the 37th Crusader to reach the 100-point club. He has also shown that he is a clutch player as he was named the 2006 Atlantic Hockey Tournament MVP for his three goals and five assists in the three games, while he also scored a game-winning shorthanded goal with just 28 seconds left in the third period in the 3-2 win at Dartmouth on January 21, 2006.
THE FORWARDS: Holy Cross returns 12 forwards, while they lost four and welcome four newcomers. Along with Sixsmith, big seasons are expected from senior Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) and junior Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.). Nappo had a solid junior season with 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points, while Reinhardt had a strong sophomore season that saw him finish tied for fourth on the team in assists (25), while he was fifth on the team in goals (11) and points (36).
THE DEFENSEMEN: Seniors Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) and Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) bring a lot of big game experience to a veteran defense that has eight players returning and one newcomer, while it lost one. Landry has played in 106 career games and is coming off a career season offensively as he was sixth on the team in points with 29, scoring nine goals and adding 20 assists. Landry was also named to the Atlantic Hockey all-conference first team and earned a spot on the NCAA West Regional all-tournament team. Godfrey also had a career season last year as he received the Atlantic Hockey Best Defensive Defenseman Award and chipped in with four goals and 12 assists for 16 points. Junior Matt Burke (Milton, Mass.) brings a lot of intensity to the ice and is a good set up man as he recorded 18 assists while also scoring four goals for 22 points which was good for seventh on the team in scoring.
THE GOALTENDERS: With the departure of two top goalies in Ben Conway and Tony Quesada, the Crusaders will look for sophomore Charlie Lockwood (Breckenridge, Colo.) and freshmen Tyler Chestnut (Faribault, Minn.) and Ian Dams (Manotick, Ontario) to contribute in net.
5-3-0 IN NON-CONFERENCE GAMES IN 2005-06: The Crusaders went 5-3-0 in non-conference games last season. Holy Cross went 3-0-0 in games against an ECACHL opponent with a win at Dartmouth and two wins over Rensselaer, while it went 1-1 against the WCHA with a win versus Minnesota and a loss to North Dakota. The Crusaders defeated Hockey East member UMass in the season-opener, while it fell to CCHA members Nebraska-Omaha and Ohio State.
LOVING THE ROAD: The Crusaders went 13-5-1 on their opponent's home ice last season, setting a school record for road wins.
2005-06 REVIEW: The Crusaders are coming off its 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 181-148-31 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.