March 11, 2010
#2 Sacred Heart Pioneers (18-12-4) vs. #7 Holy Cross Crusaders (12-17-6)
Friday, March 12-14, 2010 - 7:05 pm Milford CT - Milford Ice Pavilion (1,000) - Game 3 Only If Necessary
Radio: www.SacredHeartPioneers.com Multimedia: B2 Networks
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart enters the Atlantic Hockey tournament as the #2 seed, hosting Holy Cross in a best of three quarterfinal series. The Pioneers rounded out the regular season 15-3-2 in their final 20 games including a sweep of the Crusaders in a home and home series February 19-20. Holy Cross earned its spot in the quarterfinals with a 4-2 victory over American International in a first round matchup in Worcester, MA. Sacred Heart was knocked out of the postseason by Air Force last year in the third and final game of a quarterfinal series.
The Series... The Pioneers hold a slight edge in the all-time series with the Crusaders, SHU is 23-19-1 against Holy Cross. Sacred Heart won the season series in 2009-10 with a 3-1-0 mark. However, Holy Cross is one of just two teams to beat Sacred Heart at the Milford Ice Pavilion this season, winning a 4-2 affair November 6.
Racking up the Goals... Senior Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) currently leads Atlantic Hockey and is tied for second in the nation with 25 goals this season. He broke the SHU single season record February 20 with two markers against Holy Cross. Johnson is tied for the national lead with seven game winning goals, his last also came in the Pioneers matchup with the Crusaders.
Playoff History... Sacred Heart holds a 7-12 record in its postseason history at the division I level. The Pioneers are 6-8 all-time in the Atlantic Hockey tournament: 5-5 in the quarterfinals, 1-1 in semifinals, and 0-1 in their only championship appearance. SHU also lost the conference’s only “final five” game two years ago. The Pioneers have previously met up with Holy Cross twice in the post season, losing both contests. Holy Cross defeated Sacred Heart 4-0 in the 2004 AHA championship game and 4-2 in the 2005 quarterfinals. The Pioneers also posted a 1-4 playoff mark when competing in the MAAC in 1999-2003. SHU has a 4-3 record when skating in playoff games on their home ice.
Jarman’s Helping Hands... Senior Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) leads Atlantic Hockey and ranks third in the nation with 34 assists this season. He has already smashed the SHU single season record, which was previously held by Pierre-Luc O’Brien (31). Jarman is the Pioneers active scoring leader with 130 points (45 goals and 85 assists) in his time at SHU.
Payback For Both Sides... Both Sacred Heart and Holy Cross will be searching for a measure of revenge in this quarterfinal series. The Crusaders dropped two tight games just three weeks ago to the Pioneers,. They held Sacred Heart scoreless for 50 minutes on senior night at the Milford Ice Pavilion before a late surge gave SHU the 3-1 victory. The Pioneers will look to avenge postseasons past as they have never beaten Holy Cross in the playoffs and were defeated 4-0 in the Atlantic Hockey Championship in 2004.
Scouting the Crusaders... Holy Cross enters the quarterfinals of the tournament after a 4-2 opening round victory over tenth seeded AIC. Crusader junior Jordan Cyr leads the attack with 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points. He was named the AHA co-player of the week after posting a goal and an assist in the win over the Yellow Jackets. Senior Brodie Shehan is the Crusaders active scoring leader and has ten goals this season. Freshman Thomas Tysowsky is the Crusaders anchor between the pipes. He has compiled a 2.32 goals against average this season, ranking second in the AHA. Tysowsky also holds the third highest save total in the AHA and boasts a .514 winning percentage.
Plenty Of Firepower... Sacred Heart currently leads the AHA and ranks sixth in the nation scoring 3.53 goals per game. Nick Johnson is tied for second in the country with 25 goals this season while Dave Jarman (Toronto, ON) is third in the NCAA in assists, posting 34 helpers this season. Sacred Heart has not been shutout in the 2009-10 campaign and has scored at least five goals on ten occasions this season.
Bumpy Finish... Despite finishing the regular season 15-3-2 in its last 20 games Sacred Heart was swept in their final series of the season at Air Force. The Pioneers dropped 6-3 and 8-1 decisions and remain winless in regular season action at the Cadet Ice Arena. However, the two games meant nothing to SHU heading into the series in terms of seeding. A sweep of the Falcons still would have had the Pioneers locked into the #2 seed for the Tournament.
Up Next... The four teams remaining after the quarterfinal round will head to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY to play the semifinal and championship games next weekend. Other quarterfinal matchups include #9 Connecticut at #1 RIT, #6 Army at #3 Air Force, and #5 Canisius at #4 Mercyhurst.