INCH Measures Up: Mercyhurst's Rich Hansen and David Wrigley
Hansen (left) and David Wrigley (right) stand tied for
sixth in the MAAC with 35 points each.
weekend tickets: Visit the Army
attending the games at Tate Rink in West Point, N.Y.,
are advised to expect delays of 30-to-45 minutes for
security checks entering the arena.
Record: 20-12-2 (19-5-2 MAAC)
Laker note: Mercyhurst is being outscored,
34-23, in the first period, but is outscoring opponents,
96-81, the rest of the way.
How Mercyhurst wins: Tighten up defensively.
The Lakers haven’t held an opponent to under 30
shots on goal in any of their last eight games, allowing
an average of 39.1 shots per game in that time. Their
last two opponents have fired 47 and 52 shots on goaltender
Record: 21-12-1 (18-7-1 MAAC)
Bobcat note: In the quarterfinal win
over Canisius, Aaron Ludwig became the eighth Bobcat
to record a hat trick this season.
How Quinnipiac wins: Get good goaltending,
whether its from Jamie Holden or Justin Eddy. Holden,
who head coach Rand Pecknold considered the team MVP
for much of the season, is probable for the weekend
after being out with an injury. Eddy may still play,
however, after allowing only two goals in his last two
3 Holy Cross
Record: 17-17-1 (14-11-1 MAAC)
Crusader note: With Sacred Heart falling
in the quarterfinals, Holy Cross senior forward Brandon
Doria (16-24—40) is the MAAC's leading scorer
still playing this weekend.
How Holy Cross wins: Stay out of the
penalty box. The Crusaders post the conference’s
ninth-best penalty kill (77.3 percent), and in the semifinals
they face Quinnipiac’s potent power play, which
leads the MAAC and ranks second in the country (29.9
Record: 15-18-0 (13-13-0 MAAC)
Falcon note: Four different schools
have captured MAAC Tournament titles in the league’s
first four seasons, including Mercyhurst, Quinnipiac
and Holy Cross. Bentley is the lone member of the field
which could make it five schools in five years.
How Bentley wins: Continue to ride
the wave of the upstart program, especially early in
the game. The Falcons beat Mercyhurst earlier this season
by jumping to 5-0 and 6-1 leads, then holding on for
a 6-5 victory.
a quick look at the stat sheet, and you’d never tell
David Wrigley and Rich Hansen apart.
two leading scorers entering Friday’s MAAC semifinals
are both sophomores. They both have 14 goals, 21 assists
and 35 points.
look shows a few distinct differences, however. Wrigley,
a right wing, came to the Lakers from Washago, Ont., a veteran
of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League; Hansen,
a center from Northport, N.Y., played in the North American
Hockey league. Wrigley (6-foot-0, 198 pounds) is a bigger
player, while Hansen (5-foot-10, 176 pounds) is smaller
important for the Lakers’ foes, they play on separate
lines. So you never know when one of Mercyhurst’s
two leading scorers may be on the ice. They'll hope to use
that balance to their advantage this weekend in West Point,
N.Y., as the regular-season MAAC champions pursue the MAAC
Tournament title and their second NCAA bid in three years.
College Hockey: How important has balance been to your team’s
success this year?
Wrigley: Obviously when you have your two high
scorers on different lines, it speaks well for the depth
on your team – I don’t think too many teams
can say that. We just seem to play better with different
players, and hopefully we both make other players better.
Hansen: We play well together, too [David and Rich
do play together on the power play, with David at the point
and Rich at forward]. But I play with two bigger guys –
I’m a little smaller and they help create space out
there. Dave plays with two quicker, faster guys.
together quite a bit earlier this year when we had some
injuries, but I think playing on different lines gives us
more balance offensively.
Rich’s line played together all of last year, too,
so they have some very good chemistry. I just played with
them when we had some injuries.
Dave, how would you describe Rich’s game?
sees the ice very well, and knows exactly where his teammates
are going to be all the time. He can score, too –
he has a lot of patience, and great touch around the net.
Rich, your turn – what about Dave’s game?
He’s a big, solid player, and he’s
pretty quick for his size. He’s got a pretty accurate,
hard shot, whether it’s a snap shot, slap shot or
wrist shot, and he usually puts the puck away if he has
the chance. He’s a pretty good passer, too, and sees
the ice well.
No disrespect to the two of you, but you’ve got a
team without any superstars – which is a little different
from last year. Does that change the atmosphere around the
team at all?
It may make us a little more lethal. Everyone in the locker
room knows that they have to contribute. We’re not
counting on just a goaltender, or a senior forward. When
me and Richie aren’t scoring, we have other guys who
will. You can’t really focus on one or two players.
I think we have three pretty equal lines, and if
two of the three aren’t scoring, the third will. Take
last game – Dave’s line was our go-to line.
They were unstoppable. Other times it’s my line, or
[Mike] Carter’s line.
Last year you had that tremendous run in the regular season,
but lost in the MAAC Tournament. Can you describe the emotions
from that loss?
It was tough to take. The whole year last year
we listened to the upperclassmen talk about playing in the
NCAA Tournament. It was a huge disappointment not to get
back there, especially after losing only two league games
during the regular season.
of makes this year more important. It showed us that regular
season success doesn’t mean as much as winning in
the playoffs. I want to get back there and have the chance
to play in the NCAAs.
We were so close. Quinnipiac took an early lead
and got up 4-0, but we came back. We were so close. We heard
all the guys talk about the NCAAs, we’d seen it on
TV. But one bad game, and you’re out.
What specifically have the juniors and seniors on the team
told you about playing in the NCAAs?
How fun it is, all the hype, and just being around those
programs. All those teams are established programs. And
they talk about the intensity, with so many scouts and all
the media in the building.
Never mind the scare that Mercyhurst gave Michigan a couple
of years ago – most people still see the MAAC champion
as an easy draw. What do you guys think when you hear that
kind of thing?
You’ve got to give those teams credit –
they’ve earned their status, they’ve been there
before. With a one-game elimination, though, the advantage
is in our favor. We have a ton of players on our team who
could play at a more established program.
I don’t think any team is going to take us that lightly.
We’ve played a tough schedule, and some of those teams
have beaten us pretty good – Colorado College was
an incredibly good team. If they play their best game and
we play our best game, they have the advantage.
What other schools did you guys look at, and what ended
up drawing you to Mercyhurst?
I had a lot of interest in other schools, but this
was the best fit for me. It’s close to home, and I
chose to be part of a program that was going to develop.
I know it’s a program that will be better off by the
time I’m a
senior than it was when I got here.
I was talking to some bigger schools like UNH and
Northeastern. I’d visit and sit in their coach’s
office and look at the depth chart, and I wasn’t sure
where I’d fit in. I felt more secure here, like the
coaching staff really wanted me. For some teams it’s
really hard to come in and play a lot as a freshman, and
I think we had the opportunity to do that here.
wanted to play for a team that’s winning, and I knew
I’d have that opportunity here.