Nov. 29, 2006
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams: Holy Cross (7-6-1, 6-4-1 AHA) vs. RIT (4-5-2, 4-2-1 AHA)
Dates: December 1-2
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena (2,100), Rochester, N.Y.
Series Record: Holy Cross leads 5-4-0.
Last Meeting: RIT 7, HC 2 (11/28/93; Worcester, Mass.).
THIS WEEKEND: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (7-6-1 overall, 6-4-1 Atlantic Hockey) will continue its nine game road trip when it faces the Rochester Institute of Technology (4-5-2 overall, 4-2-1 Atlantic Hockey), at the Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2, in Rochester, N.Y. Both games are set to start at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders are coming off a 1-1-1 week with a win over Connecticut at home, and a loss and a tie at Mercyhurst. The Tigers were off last week as they split a two-game series with Bentley on November 17-18. Both teams have strong offenses as Holy Cross is ranked first in the league and fifth nationally in scoring offense (3.86 g/gm), while RIT is second in the conference and seventh in the nation (3.73 g/gm). The Crusaders have played 11 Atlantic Hockey games and are in third place with 13 points, while RIT has played in seven conference games and are in fifth place with nine points.
THE SERIES WITH RIT: This weekend's games will mark the 10th and 11th meetings between the Crusaders and the Tigers with Holy Cross leading the series, 5-4-0. This will mark the first games between the two teams as members of Atlantic Hockey. The last meeting between the two teams was on November 11, 1993, as RIT won 7-2 at the Crusader Classic.
THE TIGERS: Coming into this weekend's two-game series, RIT's 3.73 goals a game are ranked seventh in the nation, while its 21.8 power play percentage is 10th nationally and its 88.1 penalty kill percentage is tied for ninth. The Tigers have two players with 14 points to lead the team as junior Matt Smith has seven goals and seven assists, while junior Simon Lambert has five goals and nine assists for 14 points. Sophomore Steve Pinizzotto has also had a solid season so far with five goals and seven assists for 12 points. Junior Jocelyn Guimond is 2-3-2 on the season and has a 2.71 goals against average in 442:57. His .927 save percentage is second in Atlantic Hockey and ninth nationally. Sophomore Louis Menard is 2-2-0 and has a 2.47 goals against average in 219:03.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Holy Cross is in the midst of a nine-game road trip that began with two games at Mercyhurst. The Crusaders played eight of their first 12 games at the Hart Center and went 6-2. HC will play at home on January 12-13 for two games with Air Force.
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' 24.8 power play percentage is ranked first in the nation. In the last four games the Crusaders have scored 12 power play goals, including going four-for-five on the man-advantage against Connecticut on November 21.
STRONG OFFENSE: The Crusaders are averaging 3.86 goals a game which are ranked fifth nationally and first in Atlantic Hockey. Holy Cross has scored 54 goals in the first 14 games of the season.
SIXSMITH SETS SCHOOL RECORD: 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. Sixsmith has five goals and 19 assists for 24 points in 14 games this season, as he now has 36 goals and 129 points in 121 career games. His 93 assists are sixth all-time in the program's history. Sixsmith's 129 points are sixth all-time in Division I as the record is 143 held by Rissmiller. He is also eighth in goals with 36 on the HC all-time Division I list. Sixsmith is currently second in the nation in assists per game with 1.36, while he is sixth in points per game with 1.71. 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 1.36 points per game by a defenseman are ranked first in the nation. He is second on the team in goals (eight), assists (11) and points (19). Seven of Landry's eight goals are on the power play as his seven power play goals are tied for second in the nation. He has played in 120 career games with 23 goals and 55 assists for 78 points, as his 55 assists are 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 fourth in assists and third in points. His three game-winning goals are tied for third nationally and his two shorthanded goals are tied for fifth in the nation. For his career, Reinhardt has 31 goals and 43 assists for 74 points in 82 games. His 31 goals are 10th on the Holy Cross all-time Division I chart.
HC PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: Holy Cross was 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 188-154-32 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.
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 25 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.