Setting the Scene...The Sacred Heart University men's ice hockey team faces off against Mercyhurst for a two game home series beginning on Friday at Webster Bank Arena.
Last Time Out...The Pioneers split a two game series against Army West Point this past weekend. SHU took the first game by a final score of 4-2 while the Pioneers were edged in the second by a score of 4-1.
In the first game, four different Pioneers scored as redshirt junior Jason Cotton, freshman Ryan Steele, sophomore Marc Johnstone and junior Austin Mcllmurray each tallied goals for the Pioneers to earn the team a 4-2 victory.
Last Meeting...The Pioneers (13-22-4) got off to the early 2-0 lead but it was the Lakers (21-11-4) that ended the game with three unanswered goals to sweep the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal series at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. Austin Mcllmurray scored the Pioneers opening score and Stephen Hladin added the second early in the second period. Four different Pioneers earned assists on the night as Jackson Barliant, Jason Cotton and Zach Tsekos and Josh Allan recorded helpers. Goaltender Brett Magnus registered 43 saves in goal for SHU.
Cotton and Steele Prove to be Key Resources for the Pioneers...Freshman Ryan Steele and redshirt junior Jason Cotton are the team's top two goal scorers as Cotton currently leads the team with three goals while Steele has two. Steele currently leads the freshman class in goals. In the teams win against Army last Friday, Steele and Cotton each netted a goal for the Pioneers in the 4-2 victory.
Scouting The Lakers...Mercyhurst enters the 2018-19 season after concluding the 2017-18 season by falling in the semifinals of Atlantic League Hockey tournament to Robert Morris. Mercyhurst returns 17 players: ten forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders. They have added six forwards, three defensemen, one forward/defenseman and one goaltender. Mercyhurst has brought back four of its top ten point scorers from last season, including leading point-getter Derek Barach (15g, 23a). The Lakers were picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic Hockey 2018-19 Preseason Poll.