November 4, 2005

Crusader Hockey Set For Weekend Series With UConn

Nov. 4, 2005

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

Series Record: UConn leads, 39-36-1

Last Meeting: Holy Cross 5, UConn 0 (2/15/05; Storrs, Conn.)

THE SERIES WITH UCONN: This weekend's home-and-home series will be the 77th and 78th meetings between the Crusaders and the Huskies, with UConn leading the all-time series 39-36-1. Last year, the Crusaders took the series, 2-0-1. The two teams tied, 2-2 (12/8/04), in Worcester, Mass., then the Crusaders won two road games by scores of 6-3 (12/30/04) and 5-0 (2/15/05). This season the two teams will meet four times.

OFF TO A GREAT START: Last weekend, Holy Cross earned two victories over Atlantic Hockey opponent Army, at the Hart Center, to improve to 3-0-0, including the 3-2 win at UMass in the season-opener. This marks the best start for the Crusaders since the 1993-94 season, when they went 4-0-0. The best start in school-history is 7-0-0 in the 1977-78 season. Senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Mass.) made 25 saves to earn the shutout in the 1-0 win over Army on Friday night. Senior Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) scored the only goal of the game with 22 seconds left in the first period. The following night the Crusaders won 5-3, as senior Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) had a goal and two assists, while senior goaltender Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.) made 24 saves to earn the win in his first game of the year.

THE HUSKIES: UConn is coming off a 1-3-1 five-game road trip to start the season. Last weekend, the Huskies dropped two games to Atlantic Hockey foe Mercyhurst by scores of 5-2 and 5-3. Junior Cole Koidahl paces the Huskies with three goals, four assists a seven points. Freshman Jon Anderson and junior Scott Tome have played two games apiece in goal with Anderson posting a 3.45 GAA and a .913 saves percentage, while Tomes has a 4.09 GAA and a .879 saves percentage.

STRONG DEFENSE: Coming into the season the defense was considered a major strength for the Crusaders and that has proven to be accurate so far this season. In the first three games, Holy Cross has given up five goals and has given up only two goals on 13 power plays for its opponents. Junior defenseman Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) has three points this season with a goal and two assists. His goal tied the UMass game with 3:25 remaining in the third period.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Holy Cross has demonstrated its strong depth as the nine goals scored so far this season have been scored by nine different Crusaders. Also the Crusaders have five players tied for the team lead in points with three. Senior forward Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) is off to a solid start as he scored a goal and had two assists in last weekend's series with Army. On Friday night he scored the game winner in the 1-0 victory, while on Saturday night he registered two assists in the 5-3 win. Forward Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) is having a great start to his junior season as he has a goal and two assists, including a power play goal in the 5-3 win over Army.

TWO CRUSADERS APPROACHING 100 POINTS: Senior co-captains Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) and Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) are both approaching the 100 point mark in their Holy Cross careers. Entering this weekend, Napert-Frenette has 96 career points, including three points this season with a goal in the 5-3 win over Army and an assist in each Army game. He is looking to become the 35th Crusader to join the 100 point club. Last season, Napert-Frenette was first on the team and third in Atlantic Hockey in points with 38, as he was also second on the team in goals with 13 and assists with 25. Napert-Frenette is joined by McGregor who enters the weekend with 86 career points and three points this season. He had a goal and two assists in the 5-3 win over Army. Last year, he led the team and the conference in goals with 21 and added 13 assists. Last season, McGregor earned Atlantic Hockey All-Conference first team honors, while Napert-Frenette was named to the second team.

DUAL THREAT IN NET: The Crusaders have two senior goalies bringing a wealth of experience to that position in Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) and Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.). Quesada is second all-time at Holy Cross in minutes played with 4380:54 and wins with 41. He is 2-0 this season, including his fifth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army and is just four wins away from tying Paul Pijanowski's school-record of 45 (1984-87). He ranks first in Atlantic Hockey and third nationally in goals against average (1.00), while he ranks first in Atlantic Hockey and fourth nationally in save percentage (.959). Earlier this season, Quesada was named the Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the week for his 22 save performance in the 3-2 win over UMass. This marked the fourth time that he has been named Goaltender of the Week by the conference, as he was named once (1/3/05) in 2004-05 and twice (11/23/03 & 1/4/04) in 2003-04. As a freshman Quesada received MAAC Goalie of the Week honors once (10/28/02), and Rookie of the Week honors twice (11/4/02 and 3/3/03). Conway made 24 saves in his season debut in the 5-3 win over Army. He is coming off a season that he played in a career high 15 games for a total of 844:23 minutes and went 7-5-2 with 2.70 goals against average.

SOLID START FOR ROOKIES: A bright spot for the Crusaders so far is the play of their freshmen. Kai Magnussen (Okotoks, Alberta) scored the game winning goal in the UMass win and freshman Dewey Thomson (Northbridge, Mass.) was credited with an assist on Magnussen's game winner.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Crusaders are in the midst of playing six out eight Atlantic Hockey games at the Hart Center. Holy Cross is 265-156-21 all-time at the Hart Center dating back to December 2, 1975, when the Crusaders defeated Fairfield, 11-1. Last season, Holy Cross went 5-4-5 at home.

HEAD COACH Paul Pearl: Paul Pearl is in his 11th year at the helm of the Holy Cross ice hockey program. He is just the fifth head coach in the 36-year history of ice hockey at Holy Cross. On October 13, 2002, with a 3-2 win over Connecticut, Pearl became the school's third head coach to reach 100 victories at Holy Cross. Pearl has forged a 157-138-29 record at Holy Cross and has been the man behind the bench in six of the eight 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.