Dec. 3, 2009
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart leaps back into Atlantic Hockey action as they travel to West Point, NY for a weekend series with the Black Knights of Army. The Pioneers will look to bring their AHA record to an even .500 before the winter break with a sweep. Sacred Heart is winless in their last five games, last earning a point November 14 in a 1-1 draw at Bentley. SHU plays its final game before the new year next Sunday against Dartmouth. Army has rebounded after a slow start to the 2009-10 campaign, winning three of their last four including a sweep of Canisius last weekend.
The Series... The Pioneers hold a 18-16-3 advantage all-time against the Black Knights. Last season Army won three of the four meetings between the two teams, posting a 3-0-1 record. Sacred Heart last defeated Army December 1, 2007 in a 4-2 vicotry at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Back on the Bus... Sacred Heart is nearing the end of a nine game road trip in which they are currently 1-4-1. If the Pioneers snap their current skid and win out they could finish the stretch at .500, 4-4-1. After the holiday break Sacred Heart will not see the road for four weeks as they dig in at the MIP for an eight game home stand.
Slow Start Costs SHU... The Pioneers fell into an early hole against #11 Yale Tuesday night as the Bulldogs lit the lamp 28 seconds into the contest and four times in the game's first ten minutes. Sacred Heart would eventually settle down and played the next thirty minutes with each team scoring twice before Yale pulled away in the third period.
"Chipping" In... Evan "Chip" Mladenoff (Leawood, KS) notched his third goal of the season in SHU's Tuesday tilt with Yale. Mladenoff banged home a one timer in front of the net on a pass from David Berube (Quebec, QC) that made it a 5-2 affair.
Splitting Time... Sacred Heart goaltenders junior Olivier St. Onge (Wickham, QC) and Steven Legatto (Kelowna, BC) have shared time between the pipes in the first half of the 2009-10 campaign. St. Onge is 1-3-1 and has compiled a 3.64 goals against average and a .877 save perecentage in seven appearances this season. Legatto posts a 4.58 GAA and .872 save percentage but boasts more wins at 2-4-1. St. Onge got the start against #11 Yale but was chased away by the Bulldogs in just over three minutes after two scores.
Chasing the Pack... The Pioneers currently sit in ninth place in the Atlantic Hockey standings with five points. However, SHU has played two fewer games than any other team in the conference and three-plus games less than all but one team. Sacred Heart will make up these contests against Air Force January 2-3 in Milford, CT as the two teams will meet in the only games on the AHA slate.
Scouting the Black Knights... Army enters the weekend after sweeping Canisius, 4-1 and 7-2, last weekend at Tate Rink. The Black Knight attack is led by Cody Omuliusik who leads Atlantic Hockey with 20 points on 11 goals and nine assists. The junior's 11 goals places him second in the conference while his 0.74 goals per game ranks 12th in the nation. Owen Meyer is the Black Knights active scoring leader with 55 goals and 56 assists for 111 points. Jay Clark leads Army in goal, appearing in 12 games and posting a 5-6-1 record. The junior has compiled a 2.99 goals against average and .906 save percentage in 2009-10.
Johnson's New Act... Senior Nick Johnson (Windsor, CT) leads Sacred Heart with eight goals on the season, his latest coming against Yale, and is second on the team with 12 points. Before this season Johnson had scored just 20 total goals in his previous three years as a Pioneer. Tweleve games into 2009-10 he has already tied his point total from a season ago. Johnson's best year at SHU was his sophomore season in which he netted 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points.
Penalty Kill a Killer... Sacred Heart has killed 73% of opponents power plays in 2009-10. The Yale power play proved to be critical in their 8-2 victory as the Bulldogs scored three goals on the man advantage in seven attempts.
Finishing Strong... The Pioneers will need a strong finish in order to break a slump and reach .500 in AHA play before the break. Sacred Heart is winless in its last five games (Bentley 3-6, 1-1, RIT 2-3, 3-5, and Yale 2-8).
Up Next... Sacred Heart rounds out the first half of the season as they head to Hanover, NH for a non-conference meeting with Dartmouth December 13.