Crusaders To Face Sacred Heart In Home-And-Home Series

Nov. 9, 2006

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The Teams: Holy Cross (4-3, 3-1 AHA) vs. Sacred Heart (5-3-1, 4-1-1 AHA)

Dates: November 10-11

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Place: Friday-Milford Ice Pavilion (1,000), Milford, Conn.

Saturday-Hart Center (1,600), Worcester, Mass.

Holy Cross Student Radio: Friday & Saturday-WCHC 88.1 FM

Series Record: Holy Cross leads 15-12-1.

Last Meeting: Sacred Heart 5, HC 2 (2/25/06; Milford, Conn.).

2005-06 Season Series: Sacred Heart won 3-1.

THIS WEEKEND: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (4-3-0 overall, 3-1-0 Atlantic Hockey) will face Sacred Heart (5-3-1 overall, 4-1-1 Atlantic Hockey), in a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday, November 10-11. Friday's game will be at the Milford Ice Pavilion in Milford, Conn., while Saturday the Crusaders will host the Pioneers at the Hart Center. Both games are set to start at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders are coming off a two-game sweep of Canisius, while the Pioneers have won three straight with two wins over Mercyhurst last weekend and a win over AIC on Tuesday. The Pioneers have played six league games and are in second place with nine points, while the Crusaders have played four conference games and are in fourth place with six points. Last season, Sacred Heart won the season series, 3-1.

THE SERIES WITH SACRED HEART: This weekend's games will mark the 29th and 30th meetings between the Crusaders and the Pioneers, with Holy Cross leading the series, 15-12-1. The Crusaders have a 10-4 records against the Pioneers in the Hart Center.

THE PIONEERS: The Pioneers are led by senior Pierre-Luc O'Brien's seven goals and six assists for 13 points. O'Brien was named the AHA Player of the Week for his five goals and three assists for eight points in two wins over Mercyhurst. He scored three goals in the final four minutes of Saturday night's game to tie the game and send it into overtime. Sophomore Eric Giosa, sophomore Bear Trapp and junior Alexandre Parent each have nine points. Senior Jason Smith has played in five games (301:37) and is 3-2 with a 3.78 goals against average, while sophomore Stefan Drew has appeared in four games (244:53) with a 2.45 goals against average which is ranked second in Atlantic Hockey. Last season, Sacred Heart went 21-12-2 overall and 18-8-2 in Atlantic Hockey finishing in third place in the regular season before losing to Connecticut in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Crusaders will play four of their next five games at the Hart Center with all of them against Atlantic Hockey teams. In the early going Holy Cross is 3-1 at home. Last season, the Crusaders went 12-4-1 on their home ice and have a 278-161-22 (.627) all-time record at the Hart Center.

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 69 wins, two Atlantic Hockey titles, two NCAA Tournaments and one NCAA Tournament victory. The most wins by a class in a four-year period is 82 by last year's graduating seniors.

SIXSMITH LEADS NATION IN POINTS & ASSISTS: Senior captain James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) has gotten off to a fast start this season as he leads the nation in points per game (2.14) and assists per game (1.71). He scored a goal and had six assists in the wins against Canisius, including a career-high five assists on Saturday. He has three goals and 12 assists for 15 points in seven games this season, while Sixsmith has at least one point in six of Holy Cross' seven games. Sixsmith now has 120 career points with 34 goals and 86 assists in 114 games, moving him into 28th all-time at Holy Cross in points. His 86 assists are good for a tie for second all-time on the Holy Cross Division I chart. The record is 90 held by current NHL and San Jose Sharks player Patrick Rissmiller, while Sixsmith's 120 points is seventh all-time in Division I and the record is 143 also held by Rissmiller. He also ranks ninth in goals (34) on the HC all-time Division I list. Last season, Sixsmith was third on the team in points (40) with 12 goals and 28 assists. 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.

LANDRY HAS A BIG WEEKEND: Senior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) is having a big season so far as he is tied for the team-lead in goals with five, while he is tied for second in assists with five and points with 10. Landry scored four goals and had two assists for six points in the two wins over Canisius, including his first career hat trick on Saturday. Landry has recorded at least one point in the last four games and in six of Holy Cross' seven games. His 1.43 points per game by a defenseman are ranked second in the nation. Four of Landry's five goals are on the power play as his .57 power play goals per game are tied for sixth in the nation. He has played in 113 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.

REINHARDT & NAPPO ON A ROLL: Junior center Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) and senior Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) have been major contributors offensively this season. Reinhardt has five goals and five assists for 10 points in the first seven games as he is tied for team-lead in goals and is tied for second in assists and points. His two game-winning goals and two shorthanded goals are tied for second in the nation. For his career, Reinhardt has 27 goals and 41 assists for 68 points in 75 games. Nappo is also tied for the team-lead in goals with five, while his four assists and nine points are fourth on the team. His two game-winning goals are tied with Reinhardt for best on the team and second nationally.

THE GOALIES: The Crusaders have received solid play from their two freshmen goaltenders, Ian Dams (Manotick, Ontario) and Tyler Chestnut (Faribault, Minn.). Dams was named the Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week on October 30 for his performance in games against Merrimack and Yale. He stopped 51 of 54 shots in the two games for a .944 save percentage. He is 2-2 on the season with a 2.99 goals against average in 240:50. Chestnut has a 2-1 record with a 3.34 goals against average in 179:43.

HC PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross has been picked to finish third in the Atlantic Hockey 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), RIT (36 points), Army (32 points) and AIC (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 185-151-31 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.

CRUSADERS IN THE PROS: Former Holy Cross hockey player Patrick Rissmiller has been having success in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks. After being recalled from the Cleveland Barons on March 15, 2006, Rissmiller went onto to tally five goals and four assists in 29 games, including two goals and an assist in the playoffs. Rissmiller scored the first goal of the game in San Jose's 5-4 win over Nashville in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals as the Sharks went onto win the series, 4-1. So far this year he has a goal and two assists in 16 games. Currently four players from last season's graduating class are on professional rosters. Goalie Tony Quesada is with the Houston Aeros of the AHL which is the affiliate of the NHL's Minnesota Wild, while Tyler McGregor and goalie Ben Conway are playing for the Memphis RiverKings of the CHL. Also defenseman Marc Bianchi is playing with the Lubbock Cotton Kings of the CHL.