November 23, 2005

Men's Hockey Set To Compete At Rensselaer Holiday Tournament

Nov. 23, 2005

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GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:

Series Record With RPI: RPI leads, 4-0-0

Last Meeting: RPI 8, HC 4 (2/5/05; Troy, N.Y.)

Series Record With Providence: PC leads 2-0-0

Last Meeting: Providence 3, HC 1 (11/24/04; Providence, R.I.)

Series Record With Nebraska-Omaha: First Meeting

THE SERIES WITH RPI: Friday will mark the fifth meeting between the Crusaders and the Engineers since Holy Cross became a varsity program in the 1966-67 season, with Rensselaer leading the series 4-0-0. The two teams will meet in the 55th Annual Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Hockey Tournament which is the oldest college hockey tournament in the nation. The Engineers enter Friday's game with a 6-4-3 overall record and a 2-1-3 ECACHL record, while the Crusaders are 6-2-1 overall and 5-2-1 in Atlantic Hockey. Last season RPI defeated Holy Cross, 8-4, at Houston Field House on February 5, 2005.

THE ENGINEERS: Rensselaer is led by senior Kevin Croxton and junior Oren Eizenman who each have seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points. Sophomore Jonathan Ornelas leads the team in goals with nine as he has also added three assists for 12 points. Freshman goaltender Mathias Lange has seen the majority of the action in net as he is 5-2-3 with a 2.37 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. He has already been named the ECACHL's Rookie of the Week three times so far this season.

THE FRIARS: Providence comes into Friday's game with Nebraska-Omaha with a 6-4-1 overall record and a 6-2-1 record in Hockey East which is good enough for first place. Last season the Friars defeated the Crusaders by a score of 3-1 at the Coffee Pot Tournament (11/27/04). The Friars are led by senior Torry Gajda's nine points with three goals and six assists. Providence then has three players with eight points in sophomore Jon Rheault (4g, 4a), junior Jamie Carroll (2g, 6a) and junior Chase Watson (2g, 6a). Sophomore goaltender Tyler Sims has been solid in net as he has been named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week twice this season. Freshman defenseman Cody Wild was just named Hockey East Rookie of the Week for scoring the game-winning goal in the 2-1 overtime win over Northeastern (11/15).

THE MAVERICKS: If Nebraska-Omaha and Holy Cross face each other on Saturday, it will mark the first time the teams have played against each other. Going into Friday, The Mavericks are 5-6-0 overall and 3-5-0 in the CCHA. The Mavericks have been led by junior Scott Parse's 19 points with seven goals and 12 assists. Sophomore Bill Thomas is tied with Parse for the team lead in goals with seven, while he is second in points with 14. In goal freshman Jerad Kaufmann (2-2-0), freshman Greg Barrett (2-3-0) and sophomore Eric Aarnio (1-1-0) have all seen significant time in net.

THE WEEK THAT WAS: Last weekend, Holy Cross earned three points in a home-and-home series with Atlantic Hockey opponent American International. On Friday night in Worcester, freshman Dewey Thomson (Northbridge, Mass.) scored with just three seconds left in the third period to tie the game as the final scored ended in a 1-1 tie. Senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 16 saves. On Saturday night, senior captain Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) scored both goals as the Crusaders won 2-1. Senior goaltender Ben Conway (South Hadley, Mass.) made 27 saves to earn the win.

GREAT START: The Crusaders' 6-2-1 record through the first nine games of the season is their best since going 7-2-0 to start the 1993-94 season. It also marks their best start since becoming a Division I program in the 1998-99 season.

HC IN REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS: The Crusaders have a 53-47-0 all-time record in regular season tournaments. Holy Cross has participated in 54 regular season tournaments since becoming a varsity program in the 1966-67 season.

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. In the first nine games, Holy Cross is ranked first in Atlantic Hockey and seventh nationally in scoring defense with 18 goals allowed and 2.00 goals allowed per game, and has given up only five goals on 55 power play opportunities for its opponents which is first in the league and third 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). His six points ranks him fourth in the AHA in points by defensemen. Freshman Shane McAdam (Hamilton, Ontario) and junior Rod Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) each have five points which is good for sixth on the 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 4624:26 and wins with 43. He is 4-1-1 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 (1.82), while he ranks first in Atlantic Hockey and sixth nationally in save percentage (.937). 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 2-1-0 this season with a 2.35 goals against average. 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 97 career points and 14 points (9g, 5a) this season. His nine goals leads the AHA and his 1.00 goals per game average is tied for first nationally. He is also fifth in the nation in power play goals (5) and ninth in points per game (1.56). McGregor is currently the only player in the AHA to record a hat trick this season. He had five points with five goals in the two games against Mercyhurst, including the hat trick (11/11). He was named the AHA Player of the Week for that performance, 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. Napert-Frenette has 106 career points and is second on the team and fourth in the AHA in scoring with 13 (5g, 8a). Last season, McGregor earned Atlantic Hockey All-Conference first team honors, while Napert-Frenette was named to the second team.

OUTSTANDING FIRST LINE: The first line consisting of McGregor, Napert-Frenette and senior Blair Bartlett (Dryden, Ontario) has accounted for 15 goals, 21 assists and 36 points. Bartlett has been a major factor as he has a goal and eight assists for nine points which is good for third on the team in scoring. His eight assists ranks him fifth along with Napert-Frenette in the AHA.

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. Junior forward James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) has six assists which ties him for fourth in scoring with six points, while junior forward Sean Nappo (Northville, Mich.) is tied for sixth in scoring with three goals and two assists for five points.

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. Pearl has forged a 160-140-30 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.