Men's Ice Hockey Returns to Atlantic Hockey Play With Single Game at AIC Tuesday

Men's Ice Hockey Returns to Atlantic Hockey Play With Single Game at AIC Tuesday

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FAIRFIELD, Conn.- The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team returns to Atlantic Hockey play as the team travels to Springfield, Ma. to take on AIC at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday. 

Last Time Out... The Pioneers shutout Boston University 4-0 on Tuesday, Nov. 26 for the first ever victory against the Terriers in program history. Senior goalie Josh Benson headlined the event as he tallied a career high 36 saves on the night and did not allow a single goal. Four Pioneers scored in the game including senior Austin McIlmurray who racked up his eighth power-play goal of the year which leads the naiton. Senior Jason Cotton also tallied a goal for his 10th on the season. Senior Vito Bavaro and Sophomore Ryan Steele capped off the night with a pair of goals as well which contributed to SHU's 4-0 shutout of the Terriers. 

Last Meeting... The Pioneers fell to AIC earlier this season on Oct. 18 as the Pioneers kicked off Atlantic Hockey play. SHU lost by a final score of 2-1 as the Yellow Jackets nailed the game winner in the second period off the stick of Martin Mellburg while AIC was on the power-play to walk away with the 2-1 win. 

Scouting The Yellow Jackets.. AIC is coming off a two game sweep Atlantic Hockey rival RIT as they took the first game 4-2, and the second 5-1 on Nov. 29-30. Leading the Yellow Jackets is sophomore Elijiah Barriga who currently has six goals on the season with two assists which leads the team in goals. On the assists front, senior Patrik Demel leads the team with 10 on the year. Guarding the net for AIC is senior Zackarias Skog who has played in eight games in net and currently has a GAA of 1.95 with a save percentage of .921 and an overall record of 3-5-0. Overall on the year, AIC sits tied for fifth in Atlantic Hockey with an overall record of 5-6-0 and a conference rord of 5-3-0. 

Cotton on Track for a Career Year.... Senior Jason Cotton recorded his tenth goal of the season in the Pioneers 4-0 victory over Boston Univeristy on Nov. 26. He currently has 10 goals and five assists for 15 points in which he is just two off from his career high of 12 goals which he racked up in 2017-18. The senior also has already passed his career high in shorthanded goals in which he has three on the year which currently leads the nation as well. 

Benson Backing the Pioneers... Sophomore goalie Josh Benson recorded a career high 36 saves in SHU's 4-0 shutout of Boston University on Tuesday, Nov. 26. With that shutout marks the second time this season Benson and the Pioneers have blanked an opponent with the last time coming against Niagara on Oct. 25. Benson has played in every game in front of the net this season tallying a record of 8-6-1. 

Lee Lighting Up Assists...Senior Mike Lee currently has a total of 15 assists on the year for the Pioneers which evens with his career high of 15 from a season ago. Lee currently sits fifth in the nation in assists per game with 1.07 and sits first in Atlantic Hockey in assists with 15 and sits tied for first in points with 16. Lee contributed two assists in the Pioneers 4-0 shutout of Boston University that occured on Nov. 26. 

Pios Leading the Nation.... Heading into this weeks games, the Pioneers claim top spots in different statistical categories in the national stats. Senior Austin McIlmurray is tied for first in the nation in power-play goals with eight on the year, while senior Jason Cotton leads the nation in short-handed goals with three. Senior Mike Lee sits in third in the nation in defensemen points per game with 1.14 points per game while first-year Braeden Tuck sits tenth in the nation in freshman points per game with 0.93. The Pioneers as a team rank seventh in nation in scoring offense with an average of 3.67 goals per game. 

Luukko and Tugnutt Named Assistant Captains..... Head Coach CJ Marottolo announced on Saturday Nov. 16 that senior Max Luukko and junior Matt Tugnutt will serve as the Pioneers two assistant captains for the 2019-20 season. Luukko has been a key defensive leader for the Pioneers and has made a positive impact on the team at SHU while Tugnutt has rocketed off to a hot start this season as the junior has tallied eight goals, five assists for 13 points. He is just one goal off of tying his career high of nine that he recorded last season.  

Man Advantage Belongs to McIlmurray....Senior Austin McIlmurray recorded his eigth power-play goal of the season in the Pioneers win against Boston University on Nov. 26. The senior has tallied at least one power-play goal in seven of the last 15 games he has played in this season. He has surpassed his career high in power-play goals as his previous career high was four from last season. McIlmurray is currently tied for first in the nation in power-play goals with Boston University's David Farrance who has eight. McIlmurray is also on a six game point streak.