Senior Class leaving behind a legacy of putting it all on the line all the time.
By Emily Correia
Special to GoHolyCross.com
What differentiates one class of seniors from any other? The games they play? The points they score? The penalty minutes they accumulate? In the last four seasons, the Holy Cross men's hockey class of 2013 cumulatively has taken the ice to date for 627 games. In those 627 games, they netted 134 goals and together they created 207 opportunities for their teammates to score. Of those 134 goals, 46 took advantage of power play opportunities, one made it through while a Crusader watched from the penalty box, seven reached the inside of an empty net, and one recorded the class' only penalty shot attempt. A class that scored 21 game-winning-goals for the team, a class that took 1,223 shots, a class that took 1,848 face-offs, a class with 66 victories, but what makes them special?
"Well I think first off, it's a good group of kids, they're great citizens, excellent students, and just good to have as part of the Holy Cross community…" head coach Paul Pearl emphasizes. "Hockey-wise, all six of them at times in their career have been our best players and consistently all of these guys have been the heart and the soul of the team now for four years."
The impact of the Class of 2013 ripples far beyond their statistics, their numbers mean nothing without remembering the characters of the players themselves. "I hope that we have shown the team what Holy Cross hockey is all about," senior Brandon Nunn (Fairport, N.Y.) remarks about the legacy the class leaves behind with their teammates. "I want them to remember us as a group that came to the rink every day with a smile on our faces and the drive and focus to get better every single day."
Nunn himself proved how hard work pays off in the long run. To date in his 104 career games, Nunn contributed 66 points, 24 in his senior year despite missing eight games due to injury. His goal résumé boasts the only penalty shot taken by the class, and half of the hat tricks. He totals 17 power play goals, of which nine struck during his senior season. His nine power play goals this season lead the team, equating to almost one third of the team total and tying him for fourth in Division I school history and ranking him fourth in the nation. He also ranks fourth nationally with 0.62 goals per game. Nunn leads the senior class with 38 career goals—five of these won games for the Crusaders. More than just his performance in the rink Nunn shows his work ethic in every aspect of his life. The Senior CLASS Award named Nunn a finalist for his character and outstanding achievements in the community, the classroom, and with his skates on. Off the ice Nunn helped the hockey program to raise over $18,000 toward Pink Revolution for the fight against breast cancer.
With hard work on the ice aside, what takes a player from skilled to great resonates in their self discipline and determination. Senior center Kyle Fletcher (Kanata, Ontario) shows that a hunger and desire for greatness truly creates excellence. When asked to reflect on his proudest moment in a Crusader jersey, Fletcher divulged that this moment fell during "my first game. I would have never thought I would be afforded the opportunity to go to college. Hockey was a means that allowed me to accomplish a lifelong dream." Since that first game, Fletcher donned his jersey 103 total times including to assist a goal in the team's victory against No. 5 Boston University before a skate sliced his hand, scratching him for the next 12 games. In spite of the injury, Fletcher came back hungry in the remaining games and added to his career totals significantly. Fletcher leads the team in face-offs, taking 1,677 to date and winning roughly 57% of them. In his career thus far he has recorded 82 points, 33 goals, 49 assists, 12 power play goals, a hat trick and five game-winning-goals. During his sophomore year, Holy Cross awarded Fletcher the Seventh Player Award as the player who performed above expectations. In the same season he led the team in both points and assists. In his senior season he continues to lead the team in points. Fletcher continuously tops the class with his +/- as the only member of the class of 2013 to maintain a positive statistic all four seasons. In his career to date, Fletcher leads the class with a +23. His illimitable passion for the game resonates with his fellow players and the coaches. Pearl added, "Fletch is a great player, if you lose him for a long bit of time the other guys need to step up and I think these guys certainly have."
"I think that the consistent guy, if you look at games played is Linsmayer. You know, he's there every game, working hard, you get the same effort all the time and he's a good hockey player," Pearl stated. Missing only one game in his career totaling 145 caps, senior assistant captain Rob Linsmayer (Winnetka, Ill.) proves why he belongs on the ice every shift he plays. Leading the class in career points, Linsmayer has created 67 opportunities for his teammates to score and capitalized on 31 chances of his own to beat goalies for a total of 98 points. Linsmayer claims roughly a quarter of the shots taken by the class with 314 in his career. He also leads the senior class with six game-winning-goals. Even off the ice, the energy Linsmayer brings with him when he plays is contagious. "I hope my teammates remember us as a group of guys that went out on top. I'll remember the times with the boys the most. Just coming to the rink everyday and hearing everyone's stories," Linsmayer recounts about his time playing for Holy Cross. Despite his adornment with awards including a Walter Brown Award Semi-Finalist in 2011, the 2012 Winter Homecoming Player of the Game, the 2010 Holy Cross Seventh Player Award, the 2011 Atlantic Hockey Best Defensive Forward award and the "A" on his jersey, Linsmayer plays every game for the name on the front of his jersey. When asked his proudest moment, he commemorated events not only special to him, but to the team as a whole.
Echoing Linsmayer's sentiments, senior defenseman Evan Zych (Kilbride, Ontario) adds, "At this point in my career here my most memorable moment would be defeating No. 5 BU. Our team didn't care how apparently skilled or talented they were. Don't get me wrong, we respected them as an opponent, but to go into their rink and take two points was something I won't forget. Just goes to show how hard work beats talent. Needless to say, there is still a lot of opportunity on the table for the taking." Zych also talks of the camaraderie between the team, which shows when he plays. Zych spent much of his senior season ranked nationally in assists and assists per game rising as high as ninth in the nation's defensemen for points per game and 10th overall in assists per game. Through his career Zych joined his teammates on the ice in 86 games while tallying 25 points. Twenty-four of his 25 points sit in the assist column. In late January of his senior year Zych broke a 1-1 tie with Bentley with a slap shot on the power play to win the game for the team. Even with his first career goal as a game-winner in an important conference game, Zych still remembers his teammates and values their collective achievements ahead of his own. Zych puts his teammates above himself on the ice and puts the puck where it needs to be all the time. His passion for his team can be felt whenever his skates meet the ice. "The relationships I've made with the guys over my four years here will be kept close for the rest of my life."
Senior goalie Thomas Tysowsky (Amherst, N.Y.) agrees with Zych's ideas of brotherhood among the team as a whole. He believes what he will remember most about the team is "the chemistry we had on the team together, the family feel." The sense of family extends onto the ice, without the trust between Tysowsky from within the net and the skaters on the ice, Tysowsky would never have been able to finish second in the school's Division I single season saves records during his freshman season, 2009-2010. Finishing the 12-win season with 839 saves and a .910 save percentage, Tysowsky showed the dynamic relationship between himself and his teammates on the ice. He and the skaters trusted one another and pulled off incredible feats. In that season, Tysowsky tended for 2049:22 setting the school record for minutes played in a single season. In his career, he has played in 53 games, and tallied two assists. He has an overall 2.88 goals against average and a .898 save percentage. After needing surgery for a hip injury in 2012, Tysowsky returned to the team with high spirits and an optimistic view for the coming senior season.
"With the looming goal of a championship ahead of us, that will become my proudest moment and I can't wait for that in the coming months," senior captain Erik Vos (Carlisle, Ontario) articulates, bringing his perpetually high hopes to light. "I want to be remembered as a player who brought a high-end work ethic every night. It's easy to get up for 'big' games, but being ready for every game is a difficult task. I want to look back and say that I didn't allow an opportunity to slip through my fingers and that I was ready and willing to put it on the line all the time," Vos continued. In his career Vos showed the program the power of big dreams and believing in the seemingly impossible. He has played in 136 games and tallied 68 points, 31 goals and 37 assists. Vos is a never-say-never player, he holds the senior class' only shorthanded goal, showing that even in situations that seem tough, there is always a way to make the best outcome occur. He has seven power play goals and four game-winning-goals for the Crusaders, and holds the utmost honor for a player bestowed by his coaches and teammates, the captain "C." With his never dwindling faith in everyone he plays with, Vos shows the true meaning of a captain and his fire will burn in his teammates even after he graduates. Vos finishes by saying, "I think the Class of 2013 will leave a legacy behind that places importance on competing every day, backing one another in all circumstances, and just a high level of pride in the HC Hockey program."
"Though we may not have what all of the big schools have, though we may not be as well consistently thought of as the big schools, we can compete with anybody in the country, we can win our league any year we're there, and we've certainly proven that and these guys have played a big part in that. I feel fortunate to have coached them and I'm glad that we had them come here. I've enjoyed coaching all of them," Pearl concluded.
The Class of 2013 holds the honor of being the most winning class since 2007, which competed in three NCAA playoff games in their career. More than being a class of impressive statistics, the Class of 2013 will forever be legends in the hockey program through the values they have instilled and the impact they have had on the program. The six men who graduate out of this class most importantly leave behind a legacy that will never be forgotten by any player or member of the hockey program while they played.