Oct. 24, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (1-2, 1-1 AHA) vs. Merrimack (0-3, 0-1 Hockey East)
Date: October 24
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Lawler Arena (3,000), North Andover, Mass.
Holy Cross Student Radio: WCHC 88.1 FM
Series Record: Merrimack leads 24-7-0.
Last Meeting: Merrimack 6, HC 3 (1/24/03; N. Andover, Mass.).
TONIGHT: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (1-2-0 overall, 1-1-0 Atlantic Hockey) will hit the road to face Hockey East member Merrimack (0-3-0 overall, 0-1-0 Hockey East), at Lawler Arena on Tuesday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders are coming off a split of a two-game weekend series with Atlantic Hockey rival Mercyhurst, as the Crusaders took the first game 4-1 and the Lakers won the second meeting by a score of 7-5. The Warriors have started the season with three straight defeats with losses to Alaska-Anchorage (6-2), Colorado College (5-0) and Boston University (4-1).
THE SERIES WITH MERRIMACK: Tonight's game with Merrimack will mark the 32nd meeting between the Crusaders and the Warriors, with Merrimack leading 24-7-0. In the last game between the two teams, Merrimack won 6-3 in North Andover on January 24, 2003.
THE WARRIORS: Merrimack enters the game having scored three goals and allowing 15 in its first three games. Freshman J.C. Robitaille, junior Hank Carisio and sophomore Brock Wilson each have a goal, while Pat Bowen leads the team in points with two assists for two points. Senior goalie Jim Healey has a 4.81 goals against average in 99:47 and an 0-2 record, while freshman Andrew Braithwaite has a 4.50 goals against average in 80:00 and an 0-1 record. Last season, Merrimack went 6-23-5 overall and 3-19-5 in Hockey East.
STRONG OFFENSIVE START: Holy Cross has come out strong offensively this season as it is averaging 4.33 goals a game which are good for second in Atlantic Hockey and eighth in the nation. The Crusaders have scored at least four goals or more in each of their first three games and have had eight different goal scorers.
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 66 wins, two Atlantic Hockey titles, two NCAA Tournaments and one NCAA Tournament victory.
HC VERSUS HOCKEY EAST: The Crusaders have an all-time record of 20-74-0 against teams currently in Hockey East. Holy Cross won its last game against the conference with a 3-2 win at UMass-Amherst on October, 21, 2005. Last season, the Crusaders went 5-3-0 in non-conference games.
CAPTAIN James Sixsmith: Senior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) will serve as the team captain for the 2006-07 season. Sixsmith has gotten off to a fast start this season as he already has a goal and five assists for six points in the first three games. His 1.67 assists per game are second in Atlantic Hockey and tied for fourth nationally, while his 2.0 points per game are tied for fifth in the nation. Sixsmith now has 111 career points moving him to 32nd all-time at Holy Cross and his 79 assists is good for fourth all-time on the Holy Cross Division I chart. He also ranks seventh in points (111) and ninth in goals (32) on the HC all-time Division I list. Last 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.
REINHARDT ON A ROLL: Junior center Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) has scored four goals and added two assists for six points in the first three games. His 1.33 goals per game are tied for first in Atlantic hockey and tied for fifth in the country, while his 2.0 points per game is tied for fifth in the nation. He has also scored two shorthanded goals as he leads Atlantic Hockey and is tied for first in the nation. For his career, Reinhardt has 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 points in 71 games. 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 FORWARDS: Holy Cross returns 12 forwards, while they lost four and welcome four newcomers. Along with Sixsmith and Reinhardt, senior Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) and sophomore Dewey Thomson (Northbridge, Mass.) have started the season strong. Nappo has two goals and two assists for four points, while Thomson has a goal and three assists for four points. Nappo had a solid junior season with 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points, while Thomson had two goals and four assists for six points in 27 games as a freshman.
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 a goal and an assist for two points so far this season. He has played in 109 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 has one assist early on this season as he 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 defenseman Frank O'Grady (Kimberley, British Columbia) has made an immediate impact after missing last season due to an injury. He had two assists against Mercyhurst on Saturday as he is tied with Landry with the most points on the team by defensemen. O'Grady had 11 assists in 36 games in the 2004-05 season.
CHESTNUT MAKES COLLEGIATE DEBUT: Freshman goalie Tyler Chestnut (Faribault, Minn.) earned a win in his collegiate debut making 41 saves in Holy Cross' 4-1 win over Mercyhurst on October 20. He stopped 31 shots the following night and has a 1-1 record.
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.
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 182-150-31 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.