January 6, 2011

Sacred Heart Men's Hockey Hosts Air Foce This Weekend at MIP and Arena at Harbor Yard

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

Setting the Scene...The Pioneers host the Air Force Falcons in a rematch of last year's thrilling Atlantic Hockey Semi-Final 2-1 win for SHU on Patrick Knowlton's goal with 42 seconds remaining.  The Pioneers face off with Air Force on Friday night, 1/7 at the Milford Ice Pavilion at 7:00 p.m., and then again on Saturday afternoon, 1/8 at 4:35 p.m. at the Arena at Harbor Yard.  

Saturday's game is part of a doubleheader with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL), with $10 tickets purchased in advance good for both the Sacred Heart vs. Air Force game and the Sound Tigers game vs. the Worcester Sharks at 8:00 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased by calling (203) 396-TIXX or in person at the Sacred Heart Athletic Ticket Office in the William H. Pitt Center between 9:00 am and 7:00 pm.

Game Coverage...Video for this weekend's games will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the video links on the men's hockey schedule page. Randy Brochu and Kyle Tyll have the call through the America One Network.

About the Pioneers... Sophomore center Eric Delong leads the Pioneers with 13 points (4 g, 9 a) this season, a year removed from leading all Atlantic Hockey Association rookies with 35 points (10 g, 15 a) in the '09-'10 campaign.  Senior captain Patrick Knowlton, junior winger Matt Gingera, and junior winger Reid MacLeod are tied for the team lead with five goals each. Senior forward David Berube (3-8-11) has been productive as well this season.
 
Scouting the Falcons...Air Force is riding a four-game unbeaten streak after last weekend's sweep at Bentley.  The Falcons are the only team to beat #1 Yale this season, upsetting the Bulldogs 4-3 at home 11/14.  Since that victory, Air Force is 6-1-2.  Jacques Lamoureux (5-10-15) and Derrick Burnett (4-11-15) are tied for the team lead in points, while Paul Weisgarber (8-4-12) leads the team in goals.  Freshman goalie Jason Torf is the reigning AHA Goalie and Rookie of the Week, and has the third best GAA (2.80) and fifth best save percentage (.914) in the conference.

Last Time They Met ... Patrick Knowlton scored with 42.7 seconds left in regulation of the 2010 Atlantic Hockey Semi-Finals to eliminate the three-time defending AHA champion Falcons 2-1 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY.  Air Force tied the game moments earlier on a goal by Jacques Lamoureux with 1:01 left in regulation and their goalie pulled. SHU returned the favor for the Falcons ending the Pioneers' season in the 2009 AHA Quarterfinals and 2007 Semi-Finals.

Last Time Out...Reid MacLeod and Ben Ketchum scored for SHU, who lost 5-2 to the St. Lawrence Saints Monday, 1/3 at the MIP.  Aaron Bogosian scored twice, including a short-handed goal in the second and an empty-net goal in the third.  Steven Legatto made 30 saves.

Special Teams Struggles... The Pioneers special teams have limped through the first two months of the season on both ends. Currently, Sacred Heart is dead last in Division I with a 67.6 penalty kill. The Pioneers live dangerously, as they have racked up the 2nd most penalty minutes (314) in the AHA. SHU's power play (12.0%) is eleventh in the conference. Reid MacLeod's two-man advantage goal in the first period against St. Lawrence Monday night broke up a 1-33 streak for the Pioneers on the power play.

Late Leads Prove Slippery... Sacred Heart has had trouble holding on to lead. In each of their four ties, the Pioneers have held the lead at one time or another. Against Robert Morris, Army, and RIT, SHU has held a lead in the third period. Most recently against the Tigers, Sacred Heart was ahead 3-1 with less than two minutes left. Against the Black Knights they held a one goal edge with seven plus minutes to go and went into the third period with a two goal lead on the Colonials.

Pioneers at Harbor Yard... At a press conference at the Arena at Harbor Yard on November 3 the partnership between Sacred Heart and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, was officially announced.  The two organizations have teamed up to play five doubleheaders at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport throughout the season. The Pioneers will also play games in Bridgeport on January 8 vs. Air Force, February 5 vs. Bentley, and February 20 vs. Holy Cross. The team's senior day will also be held at the arena on February 26 against Army.

Up Next...The Pioneers are back in action in two weeks when they travel to Niagara for a two-game weekend series 1/21 and 1/22.