Pioneer Skaters Return Home to Face Mercyhurst This Weekend
FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team aims to right the ship as it returns home to take on Atlantic Hockey opponent Mercyhurst at the Milford Ice Pavilion for a pair of 7:05 pm face-offs this Friday and Saturday.
Game Coverage... Audio and video for this weekend's games will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the audio/video links on the men's hockey schedule page. The game will also be carried by the America One Network.
About the Pioneers... The Pioneers visited Rochester, N.Y. for a pair of games against RIT over Thanksgiving Weekend. Sacred Heart came away with a tie and a loss, as it gained a point in AHA standings. Sitting at 1-9-4 overall and 1-5-4 in league play, senior David Berube and sophomore Eric Delong lead the team in points with 10 apiece. Senior Patrick Knowlton, junior Matt Gingera, and sophomore Reid MacLeod have each tallied a team-high four goals on the season. In net, sophomore Steven Legatto has gotten the bulk of playing time, but junior Olivier St. Onge has come on strong of late and earned a start last time out. Against RIT, he totaled a season-high 41 saves in a 3-3 tie. Heading into this weekend's games Sacred Heart is stuck in a seven game win-less streak, which has included three ties against conference foes.
Scouting the Lakers... Mercyhurst evened out its conference record at 4-4-0 following a series sweep at home, coming at the hands of American International. The Lakers were ahead 2-1 coming out of the locker room for the third period, but the Yellowjackets strung together four goals for the victory. The two losses to AIC ended a four-game win streak against AHA opponents. Overall, Mercyhurst enters the weekend at 4-6-1 and are led by senior Steve Cameron and freshmen Taylor Holstrom and Daniel O'Donoghue with eight points each. Holstrom and O'Donoghue have netted a team-best five goals apiece. Senior Ryan Zapolski has been honored as the Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Month. He owns a .932 save percentage and 2.37 goals against average in seven starts.
Last Time They Met ... In the middle of the team's 12-game unbeaten streak last year, Sacred Heart swept Mercyhurst at home by scores of 6-3 and 3-2, last January. In game on of the weekend, Paul Ferraro powered the Pioneer offense with two goals, while Nick Johnson and Knowlton each added a goal and two assists. Knowlton and Delong each scored the next night, before Johnson notched what proved to be the game winner early in the third. Legatto totaled 57 saves for the series.
All-Time vs. Mercyhurst... The Pioneers are currently leading the all-time series, 18-14-5, with Mercyhurst. Sacred Heart won the only two match-ups of last season, which ended a three-game win streak for the Lakers, including a win in the 2008 AHA Final Five. The longest winning streak for either side in the series belongs to SHU, which is seven, set between 2006 and 2007.
Last Time Out... MacLeod scored his fourth of the year to give Sacred Heart a 3-1 lead midway through the third period against RIT. The Tigers cut the lead in half with a power play goal at the 18:12 mark and tied the game at three with 29 seconds remaining. Despite spoiling a two-goal lead, the Pioneers took a 3-3 tie in a very physical game with the defending Atlantic Hockey champions. The night before, RIT took it to Sacred Heart with a 6-1 win, an identical score to that which the Tigers knocked off the Pioneers in the AHA Championship game in March.
Up Next... Sacred Heart remains at home to continue a six-game stretch at the Milford Ice Pavilion with a conference game against Connecticut on December 10 at 7:05 pm, followed by a visit from non-conference opponent Clarkson on December 12 at 4:05 pm.
Gingera and St. Onge Land on Honor Roll... Juniors Matt Gingera and Olivier St. Onge were named to the Atlantic Hockey Honor Roll for the week ending November 28. Gingera returned from an injury to produce a pair of goals, lifting his total to four, in a 3-3 tie at RIT. St. Onge produced 71 saves for the weekend, including a season-high 41 in the tie.