Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart plays its third of seven straight games at home against the UCONN Huskies after splitting a weekend series with Mercyhurst at the Milford Ice Pavilion last weekend.
Game Coverage... Audio and video for this weekend's games will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the audio/video links on the men's hockey schedule page. The game will also be carried by the America One Network.
About the Pioneers... After scoring two goals last weekend, sophomore Eric Delong now leads the Pioneers with 12 points (4-8-12). Junior winger Matt Gingera also scored two goals last weekend, and leads the team with five goals. Senior forward David Berube (3-8-11), senior captain Patrick Knowlton (4-4-8), and sophomore winger Reid MacLeod (4-4-8) have all been productive as well. In net, sophomore Steven Legatto leads the league with 459 total saves, and racked up 39 saves in the 3-2 win over the Lakers last Saturday. That win snapped an eight-game winless streak, which has included three ties against conference foes.
Scouting the Huskies...The Huskies snapped a three-game losing streak with an 8-5 win at second-place Niagara last Saturday. Freshman Cole Schneider led UCONN with a hat trick. He is now tied with sophomore Sean Ambrosie to lead the Huskies with identical scoring lines of 6-7-13. The Huskies have played well against some tough non-conference opponents as well, earning 3-3 ties against both Maine and Union and falling just short 6-5 against Rensselear. Sophomore goalie Garrett Bartus trails only Steven Legatto with 427 saves.
Last Time They Met ... Sacred Heart completed a weekend sweep of UCONN with a 3-2 win Jan. 30, 2010 at Storrs. David Berube scored the tie-breaking game-winner for SHU in the third period. The night before, the Pioneers won 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Eric Boisvert ('10). Patrick Knowlton and Matt Gingera also scored for the Pioneers.
All-Time vs. UCONN... Sacred Heart leads the all-time series with UCONN 23-20-3. The Pioneers have won the last six games against the Huskies, and 10 of the last 11 meetings dating back to a 3-2 SHU win 11/26/06 . The Pioneers' success against the Huskies is a far cry from the first ever meeting between the two programs, a 13-2 win for UCONN on 2/14/1995.
Last Time Out... Eric Delong, Evan Mladenoff, and Kyle Verbeek all scored in a 3-2 win against Mercyhurst, earning the Pioneers a weekend split with the Lakers at the MIP. Steven Legatto made 39 saves in goal for SHU. He stopped all 15 third-period shots he faced, making a number of key saves in the final minute to snap an eight-game winless streak.
Vs. the Ranked... On the season, Sacred Heart is now 0-4-1 against ranked opponents. The Pioneers opened the season with a weekend series at then #19 Union. Two weeks ago SHU earned a 4-4 tie before losing game number two at Robert Morris. SHU's loss to previously ranked #3 Yale was the Pioneer's highest ranked opponent in program history.
Delong and Berube Leading the Way... Sophomore forward Eric Delong leads the team with four goals and eight assists for 12 points. He has been a steady offensive force of late, registering points in five of the last six games. Senior forward David Berube has come on strong this season as well, with three goals and eight assists for 11 points.
Up Next... Sacred Heart remains at home to continue a six-game stretch at the Milford Ice Pavilion with a non-conference game against opponent Clarkson on Sunday, December 12 at 4:05 pm.
Gingera On a Roll...Junior Matt Gingera has scored three times in his last three games to take over the team lead with five goals. In his second game back from an injury that caused him to miss five games, Gingera scored twice in a 3-3 tie at RIT on Nov. 27.
Special Teams Struggles... The Pioneers special teams have limped through the first two months of the season on both ends. Currently, Sacred Heart is dead last in Division I with a 69.6 penalty kill. The Pioneers live dangerously, as they have racked up the 2nd most penalty minutes (270) in the AHA. SHU's power play (11.6%) is tenth in the conference. Since Patrick Knowlton's power play goal in the second period against Yale on 11/23, SHU is 0-23 on the man advantage.