Feb. 5, 2010
Setting the Scene... The Pioneers return home and defend the nation’s longest unbeaten streak this weekend against the first place team in Atlantic Hockey, the RIT Tigers. Last weekend Sacred Heart edged out a pair of one goal victories, including an overtime win Friday night, on the road against UConn. The Pioneers boast the highest home winning percentage in the conference with a 7-1-2 record this season at the MIP. RIT is coming off of a home split against Bentley, the Tigers took the opener 4-1 but fell in the series finale, 5-4.
The Series... These two teams met earlier this season in Rochester, NY as the Tigers earned the series sweep with scores of 3-2 and 5-3. In the all-time series RIT now leads Sacred Heart 7-3-1. The Pioneers last defeated the Tigers February 6, 2009 in a 6-4 win at Ritter Arena. SHU has a 2-2-1 record when taking on the Tigers in the friendly confines of the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Hottest Team in the Nation... The Pioneers current twelve game unbeaten streak ranks first in the nation and is SHU’s longest streak in program history. The Pioneer offense has been clicking as SHU is averaging 4.33 goals per game in their last ten. SHU has outsocred opponents 52-24 during this stretch. The Pioneers have thrived at home this season posting a 7-1-2 record at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
National Recognition... Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) was named the NCAA Division I player of the month for January. He posted 20 points (11 goals) as the Pioneers went 9-0-2 in the month. Johnson becomes just the second Pioneer to ever win the award. SHU freshman goaltender Steven Legatto (Kelowna, BC) posted a goals against average just over two in January as he was named the NCAA rookie of the month. Legatto is the first SHU player to ever earn the award and now owns the longest unbeaten streak for a goaltender in school history.
Revenge for Both Sides... Both teams will look to earn a measure of retribution during this weekend’s clash at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Earlier this season the Pioneers suffered a sweep at the hands of the Tigers in Rochester, NY, losing two tight games in the third period. Last season it was SHU who spoiled RIT’s nation leading 11 game unbeaten streak with a win at Ritter Arena. This time it will be Sacred Heart trying to defend their division-I best 12 game unbeaten streak against the Tigers.
In the Polls... For the first time this season the Pioneers received votes in both of this week’s college hockey polls. The Pioneers received 6 votes (listing them at 23rd) more then Notre Dame, RIT, Alaska and Minnesota. Sacred Heart also received a vote in the USA Today poll, which ranks just the top 15 teams in college hockey. With a strong outing this weekend the Pioneers could do something they’ve never done before, earn a national ranking in either poll.
Scouting the Tigers... RIT enters this weekend’s series as the top team in Atlantic Hockey, six points ahead of the Pioneers in the standings. The Tigers are coming off of a weekend split at home against Bentley. The RIT attack is led by Andrew Favot who has six goals and 19 assists for 25 total points this season. However, it is goaltender Jared DeMichiel that anchors this Tigers team. Overall DeMichiel boasts a 2.18 goals against average, tops in Atlantic Hockey. RIT is ranks sixth in the nation and leads the AHA allowing just 2.27 goals per game. The Tigers also lead the conference in scoring margin at 0.88 per game.
Plenty Of Firepower... After a slow start to the season the Pioneer offense has kicked into high gear, average 3.58 goals per game. That mark ranks them sixth in the nation and first in the conference. Nick Johnson leads the nation with 21 goals this season while Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) ranks first in the AHA with 27 assists. Sacred Heart has not been shutout in the 2009-10 season and have scored at least five goals eight times this season.
Something’s Gotta Give... Entering this weekend the Pioneers have the top ranked attack in Atlantic Hockey, sixth in the nation, at 3.58 goals per game. But the Tigers come into the series the sixth ranked defense in the NCAA, also tops in the conference, allowing just 2.27 goals per game.
Chance at 100... Seniors Nick Johnson and Erik Boisvert are having stellar senior seasons to approach the 100 point mark for their careers. Boisvert has 92 points while Johnson has 91 as the SHU forwards approach the end of their collegiate careers. Sacred Heart has 8 games and post season play remaining this season.
Up Next... Sacred Heart takes on AHA rival AIC next weekend for a home-and-home series.