WORCESTER, Mass. - Heading into the 2018-19 season, the Holy Cross men’s ice hockey team looks to continue its success in Atlantic Hockey. In the 2017-18 season, the Crusaders finished in third place in the league with a 12-10-7 conference record in the regular season and secured home ice for the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals. Holy Cross looks to build on this momentum and make a push toward the Atlantic Hockey championship weekend in Buffalo, N.Y.
The Crusaders return 18 players, having graduated eight players who saw a significant amount of ice time. Head coach David Berard has brought in many new faces to the men’s hockey program for the 2018-19 season. Nine freshman join the program along with a sophomore transfer and a junior goaltender.
Berard has also added new assistant coach Tom Hill to the staff along with volunteer coach Peter Cronin. Hill comes to Mount St. James after spending the last five seasons at Miami-Ohio where he served as a volunteer assistant and the director of operations. Cronin joins the Crusader staff after recently completing his playing career at Bowdoin College as a goaltender.
The Crusaders will look to continue their offensive production, as they averaged 2.69 goals per game in the 2017-18 season. In league action Holy Cross boasted a 2.86 goals per game average. Defensively, Holy Cross will aim to continue to grow the penalty kill after finishing the season with an 84.3% success rate.
Defensemen Spencer Trapp and Johnny Coughlin return to the ice as two of the Crusaders’ top returning scorers. The senior defensemen also rank among the all-time defensive scoring top ten at Holy Cross.
The leadership group of the 2018-19 team consists of three very experienced Crusaders. Captain Michael Laffin, who returns as the team’s top leading scorer has played in 107 career games and served as an assistant captain in his junior campaign. Peter Crinella has played in 94 career games and is the team’s second top returner. Crinella will serve as an assistant captain. Coughlin has also played in 107 career games and will serve as an assistant captain.
Holy Cross’ newcomers will look to make an immediate impact on the lineup. The rookie class consists of one goalie, two defensemen, and six forwards. Berard has also added sophomore forward transfer Jake Pappalardo and junior goaltender Beau Collins to the roster.
Recapping the 2017-2018 Season
The Crusaders finished the 2017-2018 season with a 13-16-7 overall record and 12-10-6 mark in league play.
Michael Laffin returns as the team’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points.
The Crusaders’ graduated their top two scorers.
Only one goaltender saw time last season, Paul Berrafato, who the Crusaders also lost to graduation.
Holy Cross averaged 2.69 goals per game and 2.78 goals against per game.
The Crusaders have brought in eleven new faces to the 2018-19 roster.
The Golden Griffins were selected second in the Atlantic Hockey preseason coaches poll.
Canisius has played one exhibition game against Toronto on Oct. 6, where they fell, 4-0.
Dylan McLaughlin returns for the Griffins, after putting up 48 points on 17 goals and 31 assists in his 2017-18 season.
Nick Hutchinson also returns after an impressive sophomore campaign, with 31 points on 16 goals and 15 assists.
In net, Canisius returns Daniel Urbani. The junior netminder played in 33 games last season for a .918 save percentage and 2.74 goals against average. Urbani was also selected to the Mike Richter Award Watchlist.
Last Season Against Canisius
In the 2017-18 season, Holy Cross and Canisius split in Buffalo.
On Feb. 2, Holy Cross won, 5-1. Laffin put up three points on a power play goal and two assists to help the Crusaders to the victory.
Laffin and Logan Ferguson tallied power play goals on Feb. 3, when Holy Cross fell 5-2.
The Crusaders will travel to Clarkson and St. Lawrence to take on the two ECAC opponents in non-conference games.
The Crusaders will take on the Saints on Oct. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Holy Cross will play Clarkson on Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.