Nov. 22, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-5-0, 6-3-0 AHA) vs. Mercyhurst (2-7-2, 2-5-1 AHA)
Dates: November 24-25
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Mercyhurst Ice Center (1,500), Erie, Pa.
Series Record: Mercyhurst leads 15-8-2
Last Meeting: Mercyhurst 7, HC 5 (10/21/06; Worcester, Mass.)
2005-06 Season Series: Holy Cross won 2-1-1
THIS WEEKEND: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (7-5-0 overall, 6-3-0 Atlantic Hockey) will hit the road to face Mercyhurst (2-7-2 overall, 2-5-1 Atlantic Hockey), at the Mercyhurst Ice Center on Friday and Saturday, November 24-25. Both games are set to start at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders have won three straight and are coming off a 7-3 win over Connecticut on Tuesday night, while the Lakers are 0-4-2 in their last six games, including a 4-4 tie at home against Yale on Tuesday. The Crusaders have played nine Atlantic Hockey games and are in third place with 12 points, while Mercyhurst has played in eight conference games and are in ninth place with five points. Earlier this season the two teams split a weekend series at the Hart Center.
THE SERIES WITH MERCYHURST: This weekend's games will mark the 26th and 27th meetings between the Crusaders and the Lakers with Mercyhurst leading the series, 15-8-2, but since the formation of Atlantic Hockey in 2003-04, Holy Cross leads the series 7-5-1. Last season, the Crusaders won the season series, 2-1-1.
THE LAKERS: Mercyhurst is led by junior Ben Cottreau's nine goals and seven assists for 16 points, while senior Kyle Gourgon has four goals and nine assists for 13 points and senior Scott Champagne has four goals and seven assists for 11 points. Sophomore goalie Tyler Small has a 4.24 goals against average in 608:11. The Lakers' 3.55 goals a game are ranked 15th in the nation.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Holy Cross will play its next nine games on the road before returning home on January 12-13 for two games with Air Force. The Crusaders have played eight of their first 12 games at the Hart Center and are 6-2 at home.
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 72 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.
#1 IN THE NATION ON THE POWER PLAY: Holy Cross' 25.5 power play percentage is ranked first in the nation. In the last two games the Crusaders have scored nine power play goals, including going four-for-five on the man-advantage against UConn on Tuesday night.
STRONG OFFENSE: The Crusaders are averaging 4.08 goals a game which are ranked fourth nationally and first in Atlantic Hockey. Holy Cross has scored 49 goals in the first 12 games of the season.
SIXSMITH SETS SCHOOL RECORD: With his three assists in the win over UConn on Tuesday night, senior captain James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) now holds the Holy Cross all-time Division I record for career assists with 93. The record was held by current San Jose Shark Patrick Rissmiller (1998-2002) who had 90 assists during his career. He has four goals and 19 assists for 23 points in 12 games this season, as he now has 35 goals and 128 points in 119 career games. His 93 assists are sixth all-time in the program's history. Sixsmith's 128 points are sixth all-time in Division I as the record is 143 held by Rissmiller. He is also tied for eighth in goals with 35 on the HC all-time Division I list. Sixsmith is currently first in the nation in assists per game with 1.58, while he is third in points per game with 1.92. 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.
LANDRY LEADS DEFENSEMEN IN SCORING: Senior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) is having a big season so far as his 1.50 points per game by a defenseman are ranked first in the nation. He is second on the team in goals (eight), assists (10) and points (18). He has recorded at least one point in nine straight games. Seven of Landry's eight goals are on the power play as his seven power play goals are second in the nation. He has played in 118 career games with 23 goals and 54 assists for 77 points, as his 54 assists are tied for 10th all-time on the Holy Cross Division I list. Last season, Landry had 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 ON A ROLL: Junior center Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) has nine goals, seven assists and 16 points, as he leads the team in goals and is third in assists and points. His three game-winning goals are tied for first nationally and his two shorthanded goals are tied for fourth in the nation. For his career, Reinhardt has 31 goals and 43 assists for 74 points in 80 games. His 31 goals are 10th on the Holy Cross all-time Division I chart.
THOMSON HAS BIG WEEKEND: Sophomore forward Dewey Thomson (Northbridge, Mass.) had two big games against Army last weekend. Thomson scored four goals and added an assist for five points in the two wins. In the 4-3 win on Friday, he assisted on Holy Cross' first goal and then he scored back-to-back goals to give the Crusaders a 3-1 lead. On Saturday, Thomson netted two goals again including the game-winner in the 5-2 victory. His 11 points this season are currently tied for fourth on the team as he has five goals and six assists.
DAMS COMING UP BIG IN NET: Freshman goaltender Ian Dams (Manotick, Ontario) has been in net for Holy Cross' three straight wins. He had a solid weekend against Army as he stopped 49 of 54 shots in the two wins. He made 22 saves in the 4-3 victory on Friday night, while he stopped 27 shots in the 5-2 win on Saturday. In Tuesday's 7-3 win over UConn, Dams made 24 saves. Dams is now 5-3 on the season.
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 188-153-31 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. Holy Cross also claimed the Atlantic Hockey regular season and tournament titles. 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.
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 two goals and six assists in 22 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.