Nov. 30, 2005
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Holy Cross Radio: Friday & Saturday-WTAG 580 AM, Worcester, Mass.; Dick Lutsk, play-by-play; Chris Fattey, color. www.sportsjuice.com, internet
Series Record With Canisius: HC leads, 15-7-7
Last Meeting: HC 2, Canisius 2 (1/29/05; Worcester, Mass.)
THE SERIES WITH CANISIUS: This weekend's games will mark the 30th and 31st meetings between the Crusaders and the Golden Griffins with Holy Cross leading the series 15-7-7. The Griffs enter Friday's game with a 5-6-1 overall record and a 3-4-1 (5th place) Atlantic Hockey record, while the Crusaders are 7-3-1 overall and 5-2-1 (t-2nd place) in Atlantic Hockey. Last season, Holy Cross won the series with a 2-0-1 record. The Crusaders took the first game on the road by a score of 4-2 (1/15) and won the second game at the Hart Center, 4-3 (1/28). Then the two teams skated to 2-2 tie (1/29) at the Hart Center.
THE GOLDEN GRIFFINS: Canisius is led by sophomore Joel Kitchen who has four goals and nine assists for 13 points. Sophomore Mike Ruberto (6g, 6a) and junior Michael Cohen (5g, 7a) each have 12 points. Freshman goaltender Ryan Hatch has a 3-1-0 record with a 2.75 goals against average and a .901 save percentage. Canisius is third in Atlantic Hockey in goals scored (37), but have given up 43 goals. The Griffs rank second in the conference in points (105), assists (68) and shots (341).
THE WEEK THAT WAS: Last weekend, Holy Cross earned a second place finish at the 55th Annual Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Hockey Tournament at the Houston Field House in Troy, N.Y. On Friday night, junior Dale Reinhardt (Livingston, N.J.) scored the game-winning goal with 5:01 remaining in the third period and senior goaltender Tony Quesada (South Freeport, Maine) made 33 saves as the Crusaders defeated tournament host RPI, 3-2. Junior James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) and sophomore Cal St. Denis (Freelton, Ontario) also added goals for Holy Cross. This was the Crusaders' first win over RPI as the all-time series record is now 1-4-0. On Saturday night, Holy Cross fell to Nebraska-Omaha, 6-1, in the championship game. Senior Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) scored the lone goal for the Crusaders and Quesada made 27 saves.
LANDRY EARNS ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Junior defensman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) was named to the all-tournament team at the Rensselaer Tournament. He recorded two assists in the 3-2 win over RPI on Friday night, including an assist on the game-winner, while he added an assist in the championship game against Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday night. He is now tied for third on the team in scoring with nine points as he has one goal and eight assists. Landry is currently third in the conference in points by a defenseman and he is 14th nationally in points per game (.90) by a defenseman.
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 11 games, Holy Cross is ranked first in Atlantic Hockey and ninth nationally in scoring defense with 26 goals allowed and 2.36 goals allowed per game, and has given up only six goals on 61 power play opportunities for its opponents which is first in the league and fourth nationally. Junior defenseman Rob Godfrey (Thunder Bay, Ontario) has six points (1g, 5a) which is good for sixth on the team, while freshman defenseman Shane McAdam (Hamilton, Ontario) has five points (2g, 3a) which is tied for seventh on the team. McAdam is also ranked 49th nationally in points per game (.56) by rookies.
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 4744:26 and wins with 44. He is 5-2-1 this season, including his fifth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army and is just one win away from tying Paul Pijanowski's school-record of 45 (1984-87). He ranks second in Atlantic Hockey and 14th nationally in goals against average (2.36), while he is tied for first in Atlantic Hockey and 11th nationally in save percentage (.921). 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 is tied for first in the AHA and his .90 goals per game average is tied for second nationally. He is also ninth in the nation in power play goals (5) and 18th in points per game (1.40). 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 107 career points and is tied with McGregor for first on the team and fifth in the AHA in scoring with 14 points (6g, 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 16 goals, 21 assists and 37 points. Bartlett has been a major factor as he has a goal and eight assists for nine points which is good enough for a tie for third on the team in scoring. His eight assists ranks him seventh along with Napert-Frenette and Landry 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 16 players who have at least one goal. Junior forward James Sixsmith (Alexandria, Va.) scored his first goal of the season last Friday night in the RPI win. He also added an assist to give him seven assists which places him fifth on the team in scoring with eight points. Sophomore Cal St. Denis (Freelton, Ontario) also scored his first goal of the season in the RPI game and with his two assists gives him three points on the year.
HOLY CROSS 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 161-141-30 record at his alma mater 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. 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.
CANISIUS HEAD COACH DAVE SMITH: Dave Smith is in his first season and is the third coach in the program's 25-year history. Prior to Canisius, Smith spent the past three seasons as the associate coach and recruiting coordinator at Mercyhurst. He graduated from Ohio State in 1992. He finished his playing career at Ohio State with 140 points, ranking him 14th all-time.