November 18, 2005

Men's Hockey Set For Home-And-Home Series With AIC

Nov. 18, 2005

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

Series Record: HC leads, 27-15-5 (Varsity games since 1966)

Last Meeting: Holy Cross 3, AIC 1 (1/7/05; Springfield, Mass.)

THE SERIES WITH AIC: This weekend's home-and-home series will be the 48th and 49th meetings between the Crusaders and the Yellow Jackets since Holy Cross became a varsity program in the 1966-67 season, with Holy Cross leading the series 27-15-5. The Yellow Jackets enter Friday's game with 0-6-0 overall record and a 0-4-0 conference record, while the Crusaders are 5-2-0 overall and 4-2-0 in Atlantic Hockey. The Crusaders are 12-6-3 against the Yellow Jackets at the Hart Center. Holy Cross is currently in third place in Atlantic Hockey with eight points, behind Mercyhurst (10) and Sacred Heart (9). Last year, the Crusaders took the series, 2-0-1. Holy Cross won the first meeting on the road, 3-1 (11/5/04), then the two teams played to a 1-1 tie (11/16/04) at the Hart Center. The Crusaders won on the road again by a score of 3-1 (1/7/05). This season the two teams will meet four times.

THE WEEK THAT WAS: Last weekend, Holy Cross split a series with Atlantic Hockey opponent Mercyhurst at the Hart Center. On Friday, Holy Cross won 10-3, while on Saturday the Lakers won, 4-3. Senior co-captain Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) had five goals in the series. He netted a hat trick on Friday night, while on Saturday night he scored two goals. McGregor was named the AHA Player of the Week for his performance. Senior co-captain Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) had a five point weekend with two goals and three assists, while junior Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) also had five points on five assists, including four on Friday. The 10 goals scored by the Crusaders on Friday night marked the first time that they have scored 10 goals or more since defeating Iona, 11-0, on February 4, 1998.

THE YELLOW JACKETS: AIC dropped two games last weekend to Sacred Heart by scores of 6-4 and 8-1. Jereme Tendler leads the team in goals with three and he is tied for first in scoring with two other players with five points. Jeremy Leroux and Mark Pavli each have two goals and three assists for five points. Leroux was named to the Atlantic Hockey Honor Roll on Monday after recording two goals and an assist against Sacred Heart. Jeff Valdes is tied for the team in assists with three. Two freshmen goaltenders in Coby Robinson and Tom Fenton have played the majority of the minutes for AIC. Robinson has four starts and Fenton has two.

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 seven games, Holy Cross is tied with Sacred Heart for first in Atlantic Hockey in scoring defense with 16 goals allowed and 2.29 goals allowed per game, and has given up only four goals on 45 power plays for its opponents which is first in the league and fifth nationally. Also the Crusaders have received an offensive spark from their defensemen as junior Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) is fourth on the team in scoring with six points (1g, 5a), including four assists in the 10-3 win over Mercyhurst. Freshman Shane McAdam (Hamilton, Ontario) is tied for fifth on the team in scoring with five points (2g, 3a), while junior Rod Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) has four points (1g, 3a) and senior Marc Bianchi (Ithaca, N.Y.) has three points (1g, 2a).

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 4559:51 and wins with 43. He is 4-1-0 this season, including his fifth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army and is just two wins away from tying Paul Pijanowski's school-record of 45 (1984-87). He ranks first in Atlantic Hockey and ninth nationally in goals against average (2.01), while he ranks first in Atlantic Hockey and fifth nationally in save percentage (.936). 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 is 1-1-0, including a 24 save performance 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.

100 POINT CLUB: Senior co-captain Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) is looking to join senior co-captain Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) in the Holy Cross 100 career points club, as he enters the weekend with 95 career points and 12 points (7g, 5a) this season. He had five points with five goals this past weekend against Mercyhurst, including a hat trick on Friday night. McGregor was named the AHA Player of the Week, making it the third time that he has received that honor. Last season, he was named Player of the Week twice (1/3/05 & 1/17/05). He is looking to become the 36th Crusader to join the 100 point club. Last year, he led the team and the conference in goals with 21 and added 13 assists. Napert-Frenette has 105 career points and is tied with McGregor on the team in scoring with 12 (5g, 7a). 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. Last season, McGregor earned Atlantic Hockey All-Conference first team honors, while Napert-Frenette was named to the second team.

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Holy Cross has demonstrated its strong depth as 21 different players have scored at least one point this season. Also the Crusaders have 14 players who have at least one goal. Senior forward Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) is off to a solid start as he has a goal and seven assists for eight points which is good for third on the team in scoring. Junior forwards Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) and James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) are tied for fifth in scoring with five points, as Nappo has three goals and two assists and Sixsmith has five assists.

HOME SWEET HOME: Friday night's game will be the final home game for the Crusaders until Saturday, January 7, against Sacred Heart. The Crusaders have played five Atlantic Hockey games at the Hart Center so far and are 3-2-0. Holy Cross is 266-158-21 all-time at the Hart Center dating back to December 2, 1975.

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 159-140-29 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.

Holy Cross posted an overall record of 16-14-6 and a 12-7-5 mark in Atlantic Hockey last season, finishing fourth in the league. The previous season and the second time under Pearl the Crusaders posted a 20-plus win season, tallying a 22-10-4 overall record. Holy Cross swept the Atlantic Hockey tournament, and captured two shutout victories en route to the Championship Title, including the 5-0 playoff win versus American International (3/13/04) and in the 4-0 championship game win over Sacred Heart (3/20/04).

In 1998-99 Pearl led the Crusaders to a 22-9-4 mark and the MAAC Hockey Championship. It was the first time in the school's history that the hockey program won its conference championship.

In Pearl's first season (1994-95), he inherited a team that had one winning season in its eight previous years. He guided the squad to a 15-10 record, including an 11-4 mark at the Hart Center and an ECAC Tournament berth.

As a four-year letterwinner for the Crusaders, he played in 125 games as a defenseman, tallying 14 goals and 63 assists. Pearl led Holy Cross with 25 assists as a senior captain on the 1988-89 squad. During his four-year playing-career, Holy Cross won 63 games and qualified for the ECAC East Tournament twice.