Pioneers Close Out Regular Season Against Army
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart takes on the Army Black Knights in a home-and-home weekend series. The Pioneers close out the regular season with these two games, as they get ready to face either UCONN, Bentley, or Army on the road next weekend in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs. The Black Knights are tied with Bentley for ninth place with 22 points, and sit just one point behind seventh place UCONN. SHU and Army skated to a 4-4 tie at West Point earlier this season on November 20.
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 Saturday
About the Pioneers... Senior captain Patrick Knowlton (6-17-23) and sophomore center Eric Delong (7-16-23) are tied for the team lead in points this season. Junior winger Matt Gingera (14-7-21), sophomore winger Ben Ketchum (5-12-17), and senior forward David Berube (8-8-16) have been productive as well this season. Gingera scored twice in the Pioneers' most recent action, and now has seven goals in his last eight games to add to his team lead.
Scouting the Black Knights... Army beat AIC twice last weekend, 6-4 and 4-1. Their last game was played outdoors at Rentschler Field as part of the Whalers Hockey Fest. Army is led by Cody Omilusik (17-13-30), who is fifth in the AHA in goals. Danny Colvin and Mike Hull have both contributed 20 assists, while Mark Dube has tallied 11 goals, including a natural hat trick last weekend. Marcel Alvarez (4-15-19) is fifth in the AHA among defensemen in points. Army has the best penalty kill in the conference (87.7 %).
All Time Vs. Army... SHU holds a slight 19-18-5 advantage. The Pioneers have a three-game unbeaten streak against Army, however they also have a seven-game winless streak at Tate Rink dating back to 2/23/07.
Last Time They Met ... Evan Mladenoff and Ben Ketchum scored in the third period to give SHU a come-from-behind lead, but Marcel Alvarez scored the game-tying power-play goal for Army in what finished a 4-4 tie on Nov. 20 at Tate Rink. Tye Lewis and Eric Delong also scored for SHU.
Last Time Out... After losing 3-2 on the road Friday against Holy Cross, the Pioneers tied the Crusaders 3-3 Sunday afternoon. Matt Gingera scored twice for SHU Sunday, and Steven Legatto made several key saves in the final minute of regulation to help the Pioneers earn a point. Legatto totaled 37 saves in both games. SHU led 3-1 late in the second, but Everett Sheen twice down the stretch to tie for the Crusaders.
Streaking at the Right Time... Patrick Knowlton has a four-game point streak going into this weekend. Matt Gingera has a goal in four of his last six games, as well as seven goals in his last eight games. Steven Legatto has made 35 saves or more in his past three games.
Playoffs?... Despite entering the final weekend of the regular season in last place, 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. Sacred Heart will either travel to UCONN, Bentley, or Army, with the winner advancing to the best-of-three AHA Quarterfinals.