Oct. 25, 2005
Worcester, Mass. - The Holy Cross men's hockey team is preparing for an eight game stretch of Atlantic Hockey games with six of the eight at home, starting with this weekend's games against Army at the Hart Center. Both the Friday and Saturday night games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders will also host Connecticut (11/5), Mercyhurst (11/11-12) and AIC (11/18), while they will play road games at Connecticut (11/4) and AIC (11/19).
"There are different challenges posed by each of those teams," said head coach Paul Pearl. "Right now we are focused on preparing for Army. They are a physical and fast team and they are going to come in and play their systems very well. We are really going to have be on our `A' game to get some points this weekend."
The Crusaders are coming off a 3-2 season opening win at Massachusetts that saw them trailing 2-1 late in the third period, when junior defenseman Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) tied the game with 3:25 on the clock and freshman forward Kai Magnussen (Okotoks, Alberta) scored the game-winner with just 2:17 left remaining. Sophomore forward Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) scored the first goal for Holy Cross to tie the game at 1-1 in the second period. The victory by Holy Cross marked its first win over a member of Hockey East since January 31, 1995, when it posted a 3-2 overtime victory against Massachusetts.
The two late goals showed that this year's team has the ability to come back when their backs are against the wall. "I think we played our best hockey in the last six minutes when we got down," said Pearl. "We really showed our experience and poise at that point, which this early in the season is pretty good no matter how experienced your team is. This speaks very well of our team, but now we have to show continued maturity and having played so well at the end of last game we need to take that into Friday night."
With a team that has had their share of big wins in the last couple of years, Pearl knows his team is excited to move on and prepare for upcoming games, especially with the importance of winning Atlantic Hockey games. "We are very proud of beating a really good UMass team, but winning league games is what we focus on. We are all about trying to get as many points as we can in Atlantic Hockey."
Going into the season the defense was considered a major strength for the Crusaders and that proved to be accurate in the UMass game. "We held UMass, who has some very fast forwards to 24 shots," said Pearl. "When ever you can do that especially on the road it is a good sign. We did a very good job on team defense. We also did a good job of transitioning the puck, offense to defense, and transitioning without the puck defense to offense."
Godfrey's goal was his second of his career and it came at a perfect time. "Rob played a very good game," said Pearl. "He will be known for the goal but he was very good in all the areas of the game. He did a fantastic job of moving the puck up the ice and did very well in breaking the puck out. We need him to continue to play like that."
Senior goalie Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine), who was named Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Week, made 22 saves and always came up big when the Crusaders needed it. "Tony did a really nice job of taking away the back post and tying the puck up with 12 seconds to go when UMass had an opportunity."
Another bright spot for the Crusaders was the play of freshmen Magnussen and Dewey Thomson (Northbridge, Mass.). Thomson was credited with an assist on Magnussen's game winner. Magnussen was named the Atlantic Hockey Co-Rookie of the week for his performance. "Those two guys played well," said Pearl. "They also made some mistakes on the defensive side, but for their first time out I was very impressed, and I like the way both of them played. That is what we expected of them when we recruited them so hopefully they will continue to play at that level."
All of the Crusaders will need to play at a high level with tough competition coming into the Hart Center in the upcoming weeks.