FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Sacred Heart men's ice hockey takes on the UConn Huskies in what promises to be a memorable weekend. SHU hosts Conencticut Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion, then travels to the Huskies Sunday afternoon outdoors at Rentschler Field (the home of UConn Football) as part of the weeklong Whalers Outdoor Classic
Game Coverage...Video for both games this weekend will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the video/audio links on the men's hockey schedule page. Randy Brochu calls the play-by-play of both games, with Brendan Flynn providing color on Sunday's game. Both games are carried by the America One Network.
About the Pioneers... Sophomore center Eric Delong leads the Pioneers with 20 points (6 g, 14 a) this season. Senior captain Patrick Knowlton (5-13-18), junior winger Matt Gingera (11-7-18), sophomore winger Ben Ketchum (5-12-17), and senior forward David Berube (8-8-16) have been productive as well this season. Gingera has scored four goals in his last four games to add to his team lead in goals.
Scouting the Huskies...UCONN split a home-and-home series with Army last weekend, winning 4-2 Friday night at West Point, NY and losing 5-3 Saturday night at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Cole Schneider (8-16-24), Sean Ambroise (10-12-22), and Billy Latta (9-12-21) all have more than 20 points, while Andrew Olson (11-6-17) leads the team in goals. Sophomore goalie Garrett Bartus leads the AHA with 842 saves. The Huskies are struggling of late, going 1-8-1 in their last ten games.
Last Time They Met ...The Pioneers fell to the Huskies 9-3 on Dec. 10 at the MIP. Andrew Olson and Jordan Sims both scored twice for UCONN, who went 3-5 on the power play. Patrick Knowlton, Ryan Miniaci, and Kyle Verbeek all scored for SHU.
Last Time Out...After defeating Bentley 6-3 on the road Friday night, the Pioneers lost a 4-1 lead in the third period Saturday afternoon and lost 5-4 in overtime to the Falcons. Ben Ketchum recorded six points on the weekend for SHU, but Mike Switzer scored with 1:01 left in the third to tie for Bentley. Joe Campanelli scored the game-winner 47 seconds into OT.
All-Time vs. UConn... Despite a 9-3 defeat at the hands of the Huskies in December, Sacred Heart maintains a 23-21-3 edge in the all-time series which dates back to 1995. Prior to that loss, the Pioneers were winners of six straight, including two playoff victories, over the Huskies.
Once Ben Gets Going, You Can't Ketchum... Ben Ketchum tallied six points last weekend against Bentley, en route to being named Enterprise Rent-A-Car Sacred Heart Student Athlete of the Week, as well as a spot on the Atlantic Hockey Association Honor Roll. He scored the game-winner Friday night in a come-from-behind 6-3 win at Bentley, finishing with two goals and an assist. He scored again on Saturday and added two helpers. His linemates Eric Delong and David Berube teamed with him to account for half of SHU's ten goals last weekend
St. Onge Solid...Senior Olivier St. Onge has appeared in net in each of the last seven games, while starting four of the last five. In that span, he holds an impressive .908 save percentage and 3.33 goals against average. Against Bentley last weekend, St. Onge totaled 66 saves in the series split.
Playoffs?...Despite being tied for last place in the Atlantic Hockey Association standings, Sacred Heart stands just five points out of earning a first-round bye in the AHA playoffs. With Robert Morris and Niagara joining the conference this year, seeding in the first round of the playoffs is now broken up into eastern and western pods. Connecticut, Army, Holy Cross, Bentley, Sacred Heart, and AIC make up the east, while RIT, Niagara, Robert Morris, Air Force, Canisius, and Mercyhurst make up the west. The top two seeds in each pod receive a first-round bye, after which the teams are reseeded based on overall point standings. Sacred Heart's remaining six games are all home-and-home weekend series against teams from the east.
Hockey at the Rent... On February 13, the Pioneers will face-off against UConn at Rentschler Field in East Hartford as a part of the Whalers Hockey Fest. The game is the first outdoor contest in program history and will be one of several games featured at the 10-day long event. Other games include a Hartford Whalers/Boston Bruins alumni game as well as an NHL Legends game to commemorate the 1986 NHL All-Star Game held at the XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center).
Up Next...Sacred Heart travels to Holy Cross next Friday, February 18 for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff, then host the Crusaders in a matinee on Sunday, February 20 at 12:00 p.m.
Honor Roll Mentions... For his efforts in last weekend's series against Bentley, sophomore Ben Ketchum earned a spot on the Atlantic Hockey Honor Roll after posting three goals and three assists vs. the Falcons. Junior forward Matt Gingera has twice been named to the honor roll following weekend series against RIT and Air Force. Senior netminder Olivier St. Onge also made his way on to the AHA Honor Roll after the RIT weekend.