January 6, 2011

Atlantic Hockey Journal: Holy Cross' home run

by Allen Lessels

Holy Cross had its hands full with No. 1-ranked Yale in its last outing.

The Crusaders will try to rebound from Sunday night’s 10-3 road loss when they open a home-heavy stretch run of the season against Niagara with games at the Hart Center on Friday and Saturday nights.

“I thought we finished the first half playing pretty well, and we had very good games against UConn and Bowling Green and then we were awful against Yale,” Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl said. “That had a lot to do with their team. They’re very good. They started scoring, and we didn’t stop them. It was one of those games.”

Before Yale, the Crusaders lost in the first round of the 18th annual Toyota UConn Hockey Classic to UConn, 2-1, and then fell in the third-place game to Bowling Green, 3-2, in overtime.

Results-wise, the past several weeks have not been kind to the Crusaders.

They have lost four straight games and are 0-6-1 in their last seven.

There’s good news on a couple of fronts, too.

Holy Cross enters this weekend with a 6-10-2 overall record but is 5-4-2 in the league.

The Crusaders have 12 points, which puts them in seventh place, a single point behind UConn and two behind Air Force, Canisius and Niagara, who are all tied for third.

“We’re well ahead of our pace the last couple of years at this juncture,” Pearl said.

Holy Cross has played 11 league games, which is at least two fewer than three of the teams ahead of it in the standings.

One of the key orders of business going forward, Pearl said, is settling on a netminder.

Sophomore Thomas Tysowsky, senior Adam Roy (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and freshman Derek Kump (Falmouth, Maine) all saw action in the first half.

“We’ve got to find a goalie who can consistently stop the puck, and once we do, we can build off that,” Pearl said.

The Crusaders put up some good numbers on the road in the first half of the season. Now they’ll see what kind of damage they can do when they pile up the home games.

They play six of their next eight and 11 of their final 16 games at home.

Player of the Week

Tyler Brenner, sr., RIT

The senior forward scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 1:19 left in regulation, to help RIT beat Robert Morris, 4-3, and extend its first-place lead in Atlantic Hockey to three points over the Colonials. Brenner added a goal and an assist in a 5-3 loss to Merrimack.

Looking Ahead        

Mercyhurst at UConn, Friday and Saturday

UConn holds down the sixth place in the league, a single point behind Niagara, Air Force and Canisius, who are all tied for third. Mercyhurst wants to get into that chase, too. The Lakers are three points behind UConn.

Around Atlantic Hockey

AIC

The Yellow Jackets play their first games since a 8-1 loss to Union on Dec. 10 when they travel to Mankato to take on Minnesota Sate on Friday and Saturday. … AIC is at home against Bentley on Tuesday for its first league game since splitting a pair at home against RIT on Dec. 3 and 4. The Yellow Jackets lost the first game to RIT, 4-0, and rebounded to win the next, 6-2.

Air Force

Freshman goaltender Jason Torf stopped 68 of the 72 shots he faced in a weekend sweep at Bentley. Air Force won the first game, 3-2 in overtime, and the second by the same score in regulation. … The Falcons continue their New England swing with games at Sacred Heart on Friday and Saturday.

Army

The Black Knights play host to first-place RIT on Friday night looking to snap a four-game losing streak. The teams play on Saturday night as well. The Black Knights have come close in a couple of the losses. They led No. 17-ranked Merrimack 1-0 in the third period and lost 2-1 in overtime and owned a 2-0 lead over Harvard in the first round of the TD Bank/Sheraton Catamount Cup at Vermont before falling, 4-2.

Bentley

The Falcons dropped a pair of tough 3-2 games to visiting Air Force. The first night, they led 2-0 in the third period with goals from Joe Campanelli and Dan Koudys, but Air Force rallied to tie it and win in overtime. The next game, Bentley rallied from 3-0 down but could not tie it. … The Falcons are off until a Tuesday game at AIC. Bentley is tied with Army for ninth in the league, one point ahead of AIC.

Canisius

The Golden Griffins lost at No. 12 Notre Dame, 10-1, last week and now take a shot at No. 15 Wisconsin. The two teams have never met. … The Golden Griffins had won three straight against nationally ranked teams until they ran into the Fighting Irish. … Canisius has Quinnipiac at home next weekend and doesn’t play Atlantic Hockey games until a home series against AIC on Jan. 23 and 24.

UConn

The Huskies moved up to sixth place in the league standings with their 2-1 win over Holy Cross in the first round of the Toyota UConn Hockey Classic. … UConn is a point behind Niagara, Air Force and Canisius, who are all tied for third, and a point ahead of Holy Cross. … The Huskies have Mercyhurst in for a pair this weekend. … Freshman Billy Latta was the league’s Rookie of the Month with 2-6-8 totals n December.

Holy Cross

The Crusaders, coming off a 10-3 loss at No. 1 Yale, faces Niagara for a pair of games at home this weekend. Holy Cross is two points behind Niagara, which is in a three-way tie for third place in the league with Air Force and Canisius. … Senior forward Everett Sheen leads the Crusaders at 6-10-16.

Mercyhurst

Sophomore Paul Chiasson scored a couple of second period goals to lead Mercyhurst to a 4-4 tie against host Dartmouth in the Ledyard Bank Classic. The Lakers advanced to the title game with a 2-0 shootout victory but lost to Boston College, 4-1, in the championship game. … The Lakers finish 2-3-2 out of conference. They own a 28-9-2 all-time record against this weekend’s opponent, UConn.

Niagara

The Purple Eagles play a pair at Holy Cross this weekend, their first action since a 4-3 overtime win at Colgate on Dec. 11. … Seniors Paul Zanette (16-8-24) and Brian Haczyk (10-12-22) lead Niagara in scoring with sophomore Giancarlo Iuorio (7-14-21) right behind. … The Purple Eagles follow up the Holy Cross series with a pair at AIC the following weekend.

Robert Morris

The Colonials’ 4-3 loss to RIT in front of 6.957 at the Consol Energy Center as part of the NHL’s Winter Classic week was only their second in regulation all season. Of five Robert Morris losses, three have been by 3-2 scores in overtime and the other regulation loss was a 3-1 setback to Mercyhurst on Nov. 19. … Senior forward Nathan Longpre, who leads Robert Morris at 9-18-27, was Atlantic Hockey’s Player of the Month with 3-8-11 totals for December.

RIT

Sophomore goalie Shane Madolora topped off a nice month with 32 saves in a RIT’s 4-3 win over Robert Morris. Madolora went 5-0-0 with a 1.60 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in December, which earned him the league’s Goalie of the Month honors. … Junior Tyler Brenner scored two goals, including the winner with 1:19 left in regulation, against Robert Morris. It was his 12th game-winner in three seasons. … RIT is at Army on Friday and Saturday.

Sacred Heart

Air Force comes to town to take on the Pioneers on Friday at the Milford Ice Pavilion and Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. It’s the first meeting between the two teams since Sacred Heart knocked off the Falcons, 2-1, in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals last March. … Freshman defenseman R.J. Boyd is no longer on the Sacred Heart roster and suited up over the weekend for the Chicago Steel in the United States Hockey League.

Allen Lessels can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com