Setting the Scene…The Pioneers close out the regular season with a home-and-home series against the Army Black Knights in two Atlantic Hockey Association games.
Game Coverage...Video and Audio of this weekend's games will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the video and audio links on the men's hockey schedule page.
About the Pioneers…Freshman Drew George lead SHU with 12 goals, while senior Matt Gingera is first on the team with 23 points. Freshman Brian Sheehan is second with 21 points, followed by George with 17 points, junior captain Eric Delong with 16 points, and Ben Ketchum with 13 points Steven Legatto has seen the majority of time in net this year, making the fifth most saves in the AHA (801).
About the Black Knights...Army is led by Mike Hull (7-14-21) and Andy Starczewski (11-8-19) up front, while Maurice Alvarez has contributed five goals and 11 points on the blue line. The Black Knights have lost four straight, including two to AIC last weekend.
Senior Night...Friday night's game marks the final regular season game seniors Anthony Yelovich, Ryan Miniaci, Matt Gingera, and Chris Bailer will take the home ice. All four have played at least 95 games in their careers for the red and white, and were integral members of the 2009-10 team that set a program record with 21 wins and a 12-game unbeaten streak. A special pregame ceremony is planned to honor the four graduating Pioneer seniors, as well as recognize the seniors on Army's roster.
Gingera Closing in on 100…Pioneer assistant captain Matt Gingera leads the team with 23 points and is second on the team with 11 goals, putting him at 55 goals and 44 assists for 99 points in his career. He is now tied for fifth place (Garrett Larson-55) and one behind third place (Bear Trapp-56) on the all-time SHU hockey goals list. He is one point away from becoming the 11th player in Pioneer Hockey history to accumulate 100 points or more for a career.
All-Time Vs. Army...The Pioneers are 20-20-5 all-time against Army, losing to them 2-1 earlier this season at the Milford Ice Pavilion on 11/11/11. Zak Zaremba and Maurice Alvarez both scored for Army, while Eric Delong accounted for SHU's lone goal. Last season, SHU beat Army 5-1 on Senior Day. Matt Gingera and Delong both scored twice for SHU in that game.
Last Time Out...The Pioneers were swept in a home-and-home series with Holy Cross, falling 6-1 in Worcester on Friday night before dropping a 3-2 Saturday afternoon game at Webster Bank Arena. On Saturday, the Pioneers took an early first-period lead on a goal by Ben Ketchum, and retook a brief lead in the second on Drew George's team-leading 12th goal. Holy Cross tied the game 30 seconds later on a goal by Kyle Fletcher, and held on to their first lead on a goal by Andrew Cox with a little more than five minutes to play. Reid MacLeod scored his first of the season on Friday night.
By George...Drew George scored Saturday afternoon in the 3-2 loss to Holy Cross, extending his point streak to eight games. He was named Team USA AHA Player of the Week for his five-point performance the prior weekend against UConn, recording a hat trick and an assist in Friday's 5-5 tie and scoring in Sunday's 2-1 OT win. He has eight goals and four assists during the streak and now leads the team with 12 goals.
Sheehan Making His Mark...Freshman forward Brian Sheehan is now tied for seventh in the AHA among rookies with 21 points, second most on SHU.
Man-Sask Producing for Pios...In the five games since Regina, SK natives Chad Filteau and Drew George and Winnipeg, MB native Matt Gingera were combined, the "Man-Sask" line has produced nine of SHU's last 13 goals.
Doubling Up...Seven times this season, a Pioneer has scored at least twice in the same game. They are: Brian Sheehan, 10/25 at Bentley and 10/28 at AIC; Chad Filteau, 11/22 vs. Yale; Matt Gingera and Ben Ketchum, 11/26 vs. Niagara; Eric Delong, 12/3 vs. Robert Morris. Drew George recorded SHU only hat trick this year 2/10 at UConn, the last one coming from Gingera in a come-from-behind 6-3 win at Bentley in last season's AHA Playoffs.
Up Next...The Pioneers will be on the road for the best-of-three First Round of the AHA Playoffs. If SHU does not win both games this weekend, they will finish 12th and travel to the 5th seed's home.