Setting the Scene... The Pioneers take on the #19 Princeton Tigers for the first time in program history, and are looking for their first win both on the road and out of conference this season. This game is SHU's last non-conference game of the season.
Game Coverage... Audio for tonight's game will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the audio links on the men's hockey schedule page. Randy Brochu and Brendan Flynn have the call through Stretch Internet Game Central.
About the Pioneers... Senior captain Patrick Knowlton leads the Pioneers with 15 points (5 g, 10 a) this season. Sophomore center Eric Delong (4-9-13), junior winger Matt Gingera (7-6-13), and senior forward David Berube (5-8-13) have been productive as well this season. Gingera scored two goals with three assists against Air Force two weekends ago to take over the team lead in goals.
Scouting the Tigers...Princeton cracked the top 20 ranking this week at #19 in the USCHO.com poll. Andrew Calof leads the Tigers with 19 points, 16 of them assists. Kevin Lohry (8-4-12) leads the team in goals, while Mike Kramer (5-9-14) and Taylor Fedun (4-8-12) are enjoying productive seasons. Princeton has not played in 16 days, but went into their finals break on a 6-1-1 run.
SHU vs. the ECAC...So far this season Sacred Heart is 0-6 against ECAC competition. The Pioneers opened with a pair of losses at #19 Union, followed by losses to Colgate and #3 Yale, now #1. The Pioneers also lost to Clarkson and St. Lawrence at home, the first time in program history that SHU hosted an ECAC school at the MIP. The last time the Pioneers defeated a team from the ECAC was a 4-1 win at Dartmouth last December. SHU posted a 2-4 record against ECAC opponents a year ago.
Last Time Out...The Pioneers lost both games at Niagara this past weekend by scores of 4-2 and 6-2. Torin Snydeman, Alex Stuart, Anthony Yelovich, and Evan Mladenoff all scored goals for SHU. Saturday night, the penalty kill struggled, allowing four Purple Eagle power play goals in the first period.
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. SHU earned a 4-4 tie before losing game number two at Robert Morris. SHU lost to then #3 Yale, the highest ranked opponent in program history.
Special Teams Struggles...After struggling through much of the year on the power play, Sacred Heart saw recent improvement on its man advantage by going 3-7 last week. However, they went 1-11 at Niagara and are in 11th place overall in the AHA on the season at 13.4% on the power play. The penalty kill also has struggled, currently last in D-I college hockey at 69.0%.
Verbeek Helping Out... While the Pioneers struggled as a team this past weekend at Niagara, Kyle Verbeek had a personally productive weekend. He assisted on three of SHU's four goals in the two games against the Purple Eagles. He has recorded one goal and four assists over his last four games.
St. Onge Solid...Olivier St. Onge came on in relief in net in both games at Niagara and played well. He stopped 41 of the 43 Purple Eagles shots he faced over parts of two games, including all 12 against him in the Friday night game.
Pioneers at Harbor Yard... At a press conference at the Arena at Harbor Yard on November 3 the partnership between Sacred Heart and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, was officially announced. The two organizations have teamed up to play five doubleheaders at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport throughout the season. The Pioneers will also play games in Bridgeport on January 8 vs. Air Force, February 5 vs. Bentley, and February 20 vs. Holy Cross. The team's senior day will also be held at the arena on February 26 against Army.
Up Next...Sacred Heart returns to action this weekend when they take on AIC in a home-and-home two-game weekend series. The Pioneers host the Yellow Jackets Friday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion and travel to West Springfield Saturday night.