Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team heads to Air Force for the final weekend of the regular season. The race for home ice heats up in the final weekend as the Pioneers currently sit in ninth place with 21 points three points back of RIT who is in eighth with 24 points.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers earned a big 3-2 win over Bentley in the home regular season finale. SHU's seniors shined on Senior Night with Justin Danforth, Evan Jasper, Mitch Nylen picking up the Pioneer goals. Danforth got the Pioneers got on the board late with 13 seconds remaining in the second period. Jasper's goal at 16:42 started a hectic finish as four goals were scored in the final four minutes of regulation. Nylen had a stellar shorthanded goal as he cleared the puck out of the SHU zone all the way into the empty net. Drew Callin added a power play extra attacker goal at 19:10 to bring the Falcons within one but the Pioneers were able to hang on for the win.
All -Time vs. Air Force... The Falcons lead the all-time series 24-8-5. The Falcons hold the 7-2-1 advantage in the last 10 meetings. The Pioneers last win in Colorado came on March 14, 2009.
Last Meeting... Air Force pulled out a 3-2 victory over Sacred Heart on Dec. 31, 2016. After a 1-1 tie in the first period. SHU took the lead on a slapshot by Vito Bavaro at 6:14 in the second. The Falcons tied the game up at 2:03 in the third period on a goal by Kyle Haak. Erik Baskin gave Air Force the lead two in a half minutes later, Sacred Heart was held to just five shots in the third period and 16 shots on the day. The Pioneers failed to convert on the power play in the final two minutes of regulation.
Captain Clutch... Mitch Nylen has been clutch for the Pioneers picking up his second shorthanded game winning goal of the season last Saturday against Bentley with the empty net goal from deep in the Sacred Heart zone. The two-time captain, set new single season high of five goals with the game winner last weekend. His 17 points on tops his old single season high of 16 that he set as a sophomore. Nylen is a nominee for the prestigious 2017 Hobey Baker Award.
Scouting The Falcons... No. 17 Air Force is riding hot into the final weekend of the regular season, 21-8-5, 18-5-3 in Atlantic Hockey, good for second place. The Falcons own an eight-game unbeaten streak, which is fourth longest in the country. Junior Jordan Himley leads the team with 16 goals and is tied for team lead with 28 points. Kyle Haak is tied with Himley in points and has 11 goals and 17 assists on the year. Goaltender Shane Starrett has been a force in the net for the Falcons, he owns a 2.13 goals against average and .922 save percentage. The Falcons continue to be one of the country's top penalty kill teams ranking second in the country at 88.5%.