March 19, 2003
INCH Measures Up: Mercyhurst's Rich Hansen and David Wrigley


Rich Hansen (left) and David Wrigley (right) stand tied for sixth in the MAAC with 35 points each.
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Semifinal Team Previews
No. 1 Mercyhurst
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 Andy Franck.
No. 2 Quinnipiac
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 games.
No. 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 percent).
No. 5 Bentley
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.

By Nate Ewell

Take a quick look at the stat sheet, and you’d never tell David Wrigley and Rich Hansen apart.

Mercyhurst’s two leading scorers entering Friday’s MAAC semifinals are both sophomores. They both have 14 goals, 21 assists and 35 points.

A closer 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 and shiftier.

Most 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.

Inside College Hockey: How important has balance been to your team’s success this year?

David 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.

Rich 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.

We played together quite a bit earlier this year when we had some injuries, but I think playing on different lines gives us more balance offensively.

DW: 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.

INCH: Dave, how would you describe Rich’s game?

DW: He 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.

INCH: Rich, your turn – what about Dave’s game?

RH: 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.

INCH: 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?

DW: 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.

RH: 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.

INCH: 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?

DW: 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.

It kind 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.

RH: 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.

INCH: What specifically have the juniors and seniors on the team told you about playing in the NCAAs?

DW: 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.

INCH: 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?

RH: 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.

But 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.

INCH: What other schools did you guys look at, and what ended up drawing you to Mercyhurst?

DW: 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.

RH: 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.

I also wanted to play for a team that’s winning, and I knew I’d have that opportunity here.

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