Setting the Scene...Sacred Heart takes on the Bentley Falcons in the First Round of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament. The Pioneers are 1-2-0 against the Falcons this year, splitting two games at John A. Ryan Rink and losing in OT at the Arena at Harbor Yard. SHU is 10-13 all-time in postseason play at the Division I level, including a 9-9 record in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament. Last season, the Pioneers reached the Atlantic Hockey Finals against RIT after knocking off three-time defending conference champion Air Force 2-1 on a goal by Patrick Knowlton with 42 seconds left in regulation.
Game Coverage...Audio will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the audio link on the men's hockey schedule page. Randy Brochu calls the play-by-play, with color provided by Kyle Tyll.
About the Pioneers...Sophomore center Eric Delong (9-18-27) leads the team in points. Junior winger Matt Gingera (16-8-24), senior captain Patrick Knowlton (6-17-23), and senior forward David Berube (8-10-18) have been productive as well this season. Gingera scored twice in two of the Pioneers' past three games, and now has nine goals in his last ten games to add to his team lead.
Scouting the Falcons...Eric Peterson (12-13-25) leads the Falcons in scoring, followed by Brett Gensler (13-10-23) and Dustin Cloutier (8-14-22). After beating SHU 5-4 in OT on 2/4, the Falcons closed out the season 1-3-1, including a 4-3 loss and a 3-3 tie against Holy Cross last weekend. Bentley is the second most penalized team in the league (16.8 PIM/G), but has the third best penalty kill (83.2%). However, their power play is the least-successful in the AHA (8.8%)
Last Time They Met...Bentley scored three times in the third period to come from behind and force overtime, setting the stage for Joe Campenelli's game-winning goal 47 seconds into OT. Mike Switzer tied the game with 1:01 left in regulation. Matt Gingera, David Berube, Kyle Verbeek, and Ben Ketchum scored for Sacred Heart.
Last Time Out...The Pioneers beat Army 5-1 in the regular season finale last Saturday, 2/26 at Webster Bank Arena. Matt Gingera and Eric Delong both scored twice, with Delong adding two assists as well. Olivier St. Onge stopped 36 of 37 Black Knight shots in net for SHU.
St. Onge and Delong Honored...Olivier St. Onge and Eric Delong were both honored in the Atlantic Hockey weekly awards for their performances against Army. St. Onge was named Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Week, making 36 saves in earning his second victory of the season. Delong recorded four points on two goals and two assists en route to being named one of three Co-Players of the Week.
Good Goaltending All Weekend...While St. Onge earned the win Saturday, his counterpart in net for the Pioneers, Steven Legatto, was brilliant in goal the night before in a 4-1 losing effort. He tied his career high with 50 saves against Army, many of which were spectacular saves.
Streaking at the Right Time...Matt Gingera has a goal in six of his last eight games, as well as nine goals in his last ten games....Steven Legatto has made 35 saves or more in his past four games.
Ketchum Loves Bentley...Ben Ketchum has played his best hockey against Bentley this year, totaling three goals and five assists in three games against the Falcons this year. He recorded multiple points in all three games against the Falcons.
All-Time vs. Bentley...Sacred Heart is 19-17-3 all time vs. Bentley. They have only met once in post-season play, a 2-0 win for Bentley in the 2003 MAAC quarterfinals at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Up Next...With a Pioneer win, Sacred Heart would advance to the quarterfinals on the road against either RIT or Air Force. If Army beats AIC, SHU would take on RIT in a rematch of last year's Atlantic Hockey Championship game. If AIC beats Army, then SHU would travel to Colorado to take on Air Force.