Setting the Scene.... The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team wraps up its four-game road stand as the Pioneers take on Niagara for a two game series. Friday's game is set for 7:05 p.m. while Saturday's game will be played at 4:05 p.m.
Last Time Out...The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team took a two game set away from Robert Morris this past weekend as the Pioneers defeated the Colonials 6-2 in the first game and 3-1 in the second. Junior Vito Bavaro, freshman Austin Magera and junior Austin Mcllmurray each tallied two goals in the series. Freshman Josh Benson compiled 45 saves and allowed just three goals in the entire series. He tallied a GAA of 1.50 and a save percentage of 93.8%.
Scouting the Purple Eagles... Niagara is coming off a two game sweep as the Purple Eagles fell to AIC on February 1st and 2nd by scores of 6-4, and 6-3. Niagara is currently in ninth place in the Atlantic Hockey league standings with a conference record of 9-9-2 and an overall record of 10-14-3. On offense the Purple Eagles are led by freshman forward Ludwig Stenlund who leads the team in points with 26 and goals with 14. In goal, sophomore Brian Wilson tallies a record of 8-10-3 and compiles a GAA of 2.86 with a save percentage of 90.6.
Last Meeting.... The Pioneers swept a two game series against Niagara that started on February 9, 2018. The Pioneers took the first game 7-1 while edging the Purple Eagles in the second game by a final score of 5-3. In the first game Kory Kennedy tallied two goals and two assists to account for four points in the 7-1 victory. Jackson Barliant also racked up two goals as the two accounted for four of the seven goals in the game. In the second game, the Pioneers tallied three power-play goals to down Niagara 5-3 on Saturday to earn the weekend sweep. SHU earned its first weekend series sweep in nearly two seasons with its last coming on February 19-20, 2016 at Canisius. Marc Johnstone led the Pioneers with two power-play goals on the night. Classmate Alex Bates opened the scoring for SHU while junior Jackson Barliant added his third goal of the weekend. Ruslan Rakhmatov capped the scoring in the third with his third goal of the season.
Leave The Game Winners to Magera... Freshman Austin Magera is currently tied for first in Atlantic Hockey in game winning goals this season as he has tallied five for the Pioneers. Magera currently leads the team in points with 19 and in goals with eight as well as tied for second in assists with 11.
Mcllmurray Making An Impact.... Junior Austin Mcllmurray tallied two goals and one assist in the past three games for the Pioneers. He cashed in a power play goal for the Pioneers in his two goal day against Robert Morris on Feb. 1. He is currently third on team in goals with six on the year.
Tugnutt Back on Track .... Sophomore Matt Tugnutt scored his first goal in the past eight games coming into this weekends series with Robert Morris. Tugnuttnetted a shorthanded goal in the first period to put the Pioneers up 1-0 against UCONN last Wednesday night. He currently is tied for second on team in goals with seven.
Benson Named Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Week... Sacred Heart University freshman goaltender Josh Benson was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Goalie of Week for his play against Robert Morris and UCONN this past week. This is Benson's second weekly award that he has received this season as well as the third weekly award to be given to a SHU hockey player. Benson had an impressive week as he tallied a 3-0 record with wins over UCONN and a two game sweep of Atlantic Hockey rival Robert Morris. The freshman Netminder compiled a GAA of 1.33 while tallying a save percentage of 95.1%. In total he made 78 saves and played a total of 180 minutes.