Setting the Scene...The Sacred Heart Pioneers travel to Niagara to take on the AHA's first-place team, the Niagara Purple Eagles, for a two-game series
Pioneers in AHA Play...The Pioneers are 108-113-31 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.
Delong Climbing Ladder to 100...Senior captain Eric Delong has registered ten points this season, putting him at 96 for his career. He is four points away from becoming the 12th player in program history to reach 100 for his career.
Last Time Out...The Pioneers fell in a tight-played game 4-3 against the Princeton Tigers of the ECAC last Friday at Webster Bank Arena. Chad Barthelmess, Nick Curry, and Ben Ketchum all scored for SHU. Andrew Ammon scored all four goals for Princeton, including the final three of the game to erase a 3-1 Pioneer lead.
Legatto All-Time SHU Saves Leader...No goalie in SHU Hockey history has stopped more pucks than Steven Legatto, who broke the all-time SHU Saves record last year. He has 2,913 saves coming into this weekend, putting him 87 saves away from 3000 for his career.
Scouting the Purple Eagles...Niagara is off to an undefeated start in conference play, leading the AHA with a 7-0-0 record, with a non-conference win against Clarkson, as well as non-conference ties against Bowling Green, Michigan State, and Clarkson. They are outscoring AHA opponents 24-3 this season. Giancarlo Iuorio leads the team with nine goals and 15 points, followed by Ryan Murphy with six goals and 13 points. Goalie Carson Chubak leads the AHA with a 0.99 GAA and a .970 save percentage.
All-Time vs. Niagara...SHU is looking for its first win against Niagara, coming in 0-7-1 all-time vs. the Purple Eagles. Since Niagara joined the AHA in two years agao, SHU is 0-3-1 against Niagara, including a 4-4 tie last year at home on 11/27. SHU scored three unanswered third-period goals to earn the tie, getting two goals from Matt Gingera and one from Ben Ketchum.