September 16, 2009

Atlantic Hockey Preseason Poll Released

Sept. 16, 2009

The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team was picked to finish eighth in this year's Atlantic Hockey preseason coaches poll recently released by the league. Defending champion Air Force is the favorite to repeat and earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers open the season with an exhibition game against St. Thomas October 4 at the Milford Ice Pavilion. NCAA action begins on the road October 23 as SHU travels to Troy, NY to take on Rensselaer.

The Pioneers finished last season with a 11-23-4 record, 9-16-3 in the AHA, but earned one of the program's best results playing Colorado College to a 2-2 tie.  Sacred Heart also made noise in the AHA tournament disposing of Connecticut 4-2 before falling to eventual champion Air Force in the rubber match of the three game quarterfinal.

The 2009 Tournament will be the same format from a year ago. There will be two First Round contests with the 7th seed hosting the 10th seed and the 8th seed hosting the 9th seed in the single elimination contest on Saturday, March 6. The Quarterfinal Round will take place on the Friday, March 12-Sunday, March 14 and feature four match-ups in a best two-out-of-three format. The four winners will then travel to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. with the highest remaining seed facing the lowest remaining seed in the first semifinal, with the other two remaining seeds facing off in the second semifinal on Friday, March 19. The two semifinal winners will then face-off in the Championship game on Saturday, March 20 with the NCAA automatic berth on the line.

The Atlantic Hockey Association arose on June 30, 2003, to found a new Division-I men’s ice hockey conference. The league is comprised of ten members: Air Force Academy, American International College, Army, Bentley College, Canisius College, University of Connecticut, College of the Holy Cross, Mercyhurst College, Rochester Institute of Technology and Sacred Heart University. Niagara and Robert Morris will join the league for the start of the 2010-11 season.