Dec. 27, 2005
GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
Series Record With Ohio State: First Meeting
Series Record With Miami of Ohio: First Meeting
Series Record With Rensselaer: RPI leads 4-1-0
Last Meeting: Holy Cross 3, RPI 2 (11/25/05; Troy, N.Y.)
OHIO HOCKEY CLASSIC: The Holy Cross men's hockey team (9-3-1 overall, 7-2-1 Atlantic Hockey) returns to action for the first time since sweeping a weekend series at Canisius (Dec. 2-3), when it competes at the Ohio Hockey Classic at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. On Thursday, December 29, the Crusaders will take on tournament host Ohio State (9-6-2 overall, 6-4-1 CCHA) at 8:05 p.m., while they will face either #2 Miami (Ohio) (12-2-2 overall, 10-1-1 CCHA) or Rensselaer (8-6-3 overall, 2-1-3 ECAC). Holy Cross has never faced Ohio State or Miami, while it is 1-4-0 all-time against RPI including a 3-2 win earlier this season on Nov. 25, at the RPI Holiday Tournament. Holy Cross is currently in second place in Atlantic Hockey behind Mercyhurst. The Crusaders' .731 overall winning percentage this season is third in the nation. Holy Cross is ranked eighth in the nation in scoring defense with 2.23 goals allowed per game and third in penalty kill percentage (90.8). Offensively the Crusaders are 18th in scoring offense (3.38 goals per game) and tied for seventh in power play conversion percentage (22.8). Senior co-captain Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) currently leads the nation in goals per game as he has scored 11 goals in 12 games for a .92 average.
THE BUCKEYES: Thursday will mark the first ever meeting between the Crusaders and the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 2-0-1 in its last three games and is led by sophomore Tom Fritsche's six goals and 11 assists for 17 points. Junior Andrew Schembri is second on the team in scoring with five goals and nine assists for 14 points, while junior Mathieu Beaudoin is third with six goals and seven points for 13 points. Senior goaltender Dave Caruso has seen the majority of the action in net so far as he is 7-5-2 with a .909 save percentage. Caruso's 1.97 goals against average is seventh in the nation. The Buckeyes are ranked 30th nationally in scoring offense with 3.06 goals per game and 7th in scoring defense with 2.18 goals allowed per game.
THE RED HAWKS: Miami is ranked #2 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll and has the longest current unbeaten streak in the nation at eight games (6-0-2). The Red Hawks have the second best scoring defense in the country (1.62 goals allowed per game), while their offense is tied for 22nd (3.25 goals per game). Miami has two of the nation's top goaltenders in sophomore Charlie Effinger and freshman Jeff Zatkoff. Effinger is 5-0-2 with a nation's best .857 winning percentage and Zatkoff is 7-2-0 and ranked sixth with a .778 winning percentage. Effinger is ranked second nationally in both goals against average (1.40) and save percentage (.947), while Zatkoff is fourth in goals against average (1.68) and save percentage (.936). Miami are led by sophomore Nathan Davis who has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points, and senior Andy Greene who has six goals and nine assists for 15 points.
THE ENGINEERS: Rensselaer enters with an 8-6-3 overall record and a 2-1-3 ECAC mark. The Engineers are led by senior Kevin Croxton's 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points. He is tied for third in the nation in points per game with a 1.65 average. Junior Oren Eizenman is second on the team in scoring with 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points. He is tied for 10th in the country in points per game with a 1.53 average. Freshman goaltender Mathias Lange has seen most of the action as he is 7-4-3 with a 2.57 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. RPI is ranked ninth nationally in scoring offense with 3.53 goals per game, while they are 35th in scoring defense with 3.12 goals allowed per game.
PERFECT ON THE ROAD: The Crusaders are a perfect 6-0-0 in road games this season. They have defeated Massachusetts (10/21), Connecticut (11/4), American International (11/19), Rensselaer (11/25) and Canisius (12/2-3). Holy Cross fell to Nebraska-Omaha (11/26) in the only neutral site game it has played in so far this season.
HC IN REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS: The Crusaders have a 54-48-0 all-time record in regular season tournaments. Holy Cross has participated in 55 regular season tournaments since becoming a varsity program in the 1966-67 season. This season, the Crusaders earned a second place finish at the 55th Annual Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Hockey Tournament in Troy, N.Y. Holy Cross defeated tournament host RPI, 3-2, and then fell to Nebraska-Omaha, 6-1 in the championship game. Junior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) was named to the all-tournament team as he recorded two assists in the RPI game, including an assist on the game-winner, while he added an assist in the championship game.
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 eighth nationally in scoring defense with 2.23 goals allowed per game, and has given up only seven goals on 76 power play opportunities for its opponents which is third nationally. Also the Crusaders have received an offensive spark from junior defenseman Jon Landry (Lexington, Mass.) as he is third on the team in scoring with 12 points (3g, 9a). He is seventh in the nation in points per game by a defenseman with a 1.00 average.
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 6-2-1 this season, including his fifth career shutout in the 1-0 win over Army. With the win over Canisius (12/2), Quesada tied the school-record for career wins with 45 which was set by Paul Pijanowski (1984-87). He is also second all-time in minutes played with 4804:26. He ranks 19th nationally in goals against average (2.32), while he ranks 13th nationally in save percentage (.924). 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. Conway is 3-1-0 this season with a 2.01 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. 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-captains Tyler McGregor (Ajax, Ontario) and Pierre Napert-Frenette (Bathurst, New Brunswick) have both joined the Holy Cross 100 career point club this season. McGregor enters this tournament with 100 career points (55g & 45a) and 17 points (11g, 6a) this season. He is first in the nation in goals per game with .92 and is fifth in power play goals with seven. McGregor's 100th point came on his second goal in the 5-1 win at Canisius (12/3). He had five points with five goals in the two games against Mercyhurst, including a hat trick (11/11). McGregor 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). Napert-Frenette has 111 career points (45g, 66a) and is first on the team in scoring with 18 (7g, 11a). His 100th point came when he scored a goal in the 3-2 loss against Connectciut (11/5). 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 19 goals, 27 assists and 46 points. Bartlett has been a major factor as he has a goal and 10 assists for 11 points which is tied for fourth on the team in scoring.
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.) has two goals and nine assists which ties him for fourth in scoring with 11 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 163-141-30 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. Pearl's 163 wins puts him four shy of tying the school record of 167 set by Peter Van Buskirk (1979-88; 1996-97).