Setting the Scene...The Sacred Heart Pioneers host the newest team in NCAA Division I College Hockey - the Penn State Nittany Lions - which plays as an independent program this year before joining the new Big 10 Hockey Conference for its inaugural season next year.
Pioneers in AHA Play...The Pioneers are 108-107-30 in this their tenth year of play in the Atlantic Hockey Association. While they are looking for their first AHA title, they have been to the conference championship twice, falling 4-0 to Holy Cross in the inaugural season of 2003-04 and 6-1 to RIT in 2009-10. SHU posted its best conference record in 2005-06, when the Pioneers went 18-8-2 in AHA play.
By George, He's Picking Up Where He Left Off...Drew George has scored a goal in both of SHU's first two games to start the season, and registered a point in three of the first four games. Dating back to last year, he has registered a point in 15 of the last 17 games. He saw a 12-game point streak end in a 5-0 shutout loss to Bentley in Game 3 of last year's AHA playoffs.
Last Time Out...Sacred Heart lost at Army last Friday night 5-2 and settled for a 4-4 tie with Army in the home opener last Saturday night. In Saturday's tie, the Pioneers saw a 4-3 lead slip away with 33 seconds remaining in regulation on a goal by Joe Kozlak with the net empty and extra attacker on for Army. SHU and Army traded goals throughout the game, with Eric Delong opening the scoring. Kyle Verbeek scored a goal in both games for the Pioneers. Morgan Bonner scored his first career goal in Saturday night's game, along with Brian Sheehan. Ben Lake scored on Friday night.
Scouting the Nittany Lions...Penn State began its historic inaugural season with a 3-2 overtime loss to AIC, followed the next night by a 4-3 overtime win over the Yellow Jackets. Last Saturday, they beat RIT 3-2 in front of 10,556 at Blue Cross Arena. Last night, Penn State beat Army 5-0 for the first shutout in program history.
Delong Closing in on 100...Senior captain Eric Delong scored against Army last Saturday, and now has 89 career points. He is 11 points away from becoming the 12th player in program history to reach 100 points.
"You Feel Shame, Then You Get Free"...The Pioneers are the most penalized team in the AHA with 97 penalty minutes, 41 minutes more than second place Canisius.
Up Next...SHU returns to conference play at home against the Mercyhurst Lakers for two games next weekend. The Pioneers host the Lakers Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion at 7:05 pm, then again on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm at Webster Bank Arena. Next Saturday's game is the first of 10 home games at Webster Bank Arena - part of a duel-admission doubleheader with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who host Hershey at 7:00 pm.
Pioneer Sports Network...Once again Sacred Heart men's ice hockey games will be broadcast by America One, formerly known as B2. Pioneer fans can access the network through the "America One" link on the men's ice hockey page at SacredHeartPioneers.com or at AtlanticHockeyOnline.com. Live audio will also be carried for most games through Stretch Internet, also accessible on SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the audio links. Randy Brochu calls the play-by-play alongside Kyle Tyll (home) providing the color commentary. Watch the game on America One here.