Pioneers Set Sights on Holy Cross This Weekend
FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Sacred Heart takes on the Holy Cross Crusaders in a home-and-home weekend series. Sacred Heart ended the Crusaders' season last year with a two-game sweep in the AHA Quarterfinals, including a 4-3 Game 2 OT win on a goal by Matt Gingera. SHU also beat HC in five of the six games they played throughout the season. The Pioneers are 25-20-1 all time against the Crusaders. However, Holy Cross beat SHU earlier this year 7-2 on Nov. 19 at the MIP. The Crusaders are tied for third place with 27 points, and currently own the top spot in the AHA's unofficial eastern division. With four games left, the Pioneers are out of contention for a first-round bye.
Game Coverage...Video/audio 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 color provided by Brendan Flynn on Friday and Kyle Tyll on Sunday.
About the Pioneers...Sophomore center Eric Delong leads the Pioneers with 21 points (6 g, 15 a) this season. Senior captain Patrick Knowlton (5-15-20), junior winger Matt Gingera (12-7-19), 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 five goals in his last six games to add to his team lead in goals.
Scouting the Crusaders...Holy Cross is one of the hottest teams in the AHA, having won six in a row after 5-1 and 6-0 wins against Army last weekend. Eric Vos led the Crusaders with two goals and three assists en route to being named AHA Co-Player of the Week. Rob Linsmayer (10-20-30) leads the Crusaders in scoring, followed by Kyle Fletcher (10-19-29) and Everett Sheen (10-16-26). Senior goalie Adam Roy is second in GAA (2.27) and fourth in Save Pct. (.920) in Atlantic Hockey. Holy Cross has the second best power-play in the conference (23.6%).
Last Time They Met ...Sacred Heart fell to Holy Cross 7-2 at the Milford Ice Pavilion on November 19, snapping a five-game winning streak for the Pioneers against the Crusaders. Patrick Knowlton and Chad Filteau scored for SHU, while Rob Linsmayer and Mark Znutas scored twice for the Crusaders. The game was tied at two with 2:19 to play in the second, but Holy Cross scored three times before the intermission en route to scoring five unanswered goals to close out the game.
Once Ben Gets Going, You Can't Ketchum... Ben Ketchum tallied six points two weekends ago 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.
Last Time Out(doors) ...Sacred Heart was swept by UCONN last weekend, losing 4-2 Friday night at the MIP and 3-1 outdoors at Rentschler Field Sunday afternoon. Evan Mladenoff scored both SHU goals in Friday night's game.
Playoffs?...Despite entering the weekend in last place with four games remaining, the Pioneers will play post-season hockey on Mach 5. Every team in the Atlantic Hockey Association makes the playoffs, with the top two teams in the east and west earning first-round byes. If the season ended today, Sacred Heart would travel to Bentley for a single elimination game, with the winner advancing to the best-of-three AHA Quarterfinals. Sacred Heart also could potentially match up with Army or AIC still.
Up Next...Sacred Heart travels to Army Friday, February 25 at 7:00 pm, then hosts the Black Knights on Senior Day in the regular season finale at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday, February 26 at 3:30 pm.