(Fairfield, CT) - The Sacred Heart Pioneer men's hockey team has released its schedule for the 2011-12 season. This year, the Pioneers will play eight home games at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Also, for the first time ever, the Pioneers will face off with the University of Minnesota. The Pioneers open the season with games on the road against the Golden Gophers October 8-9. The following week, the Pioneers travel to Clarkson for two games.
"We are very excited about this year's non-league schedule," said head coach CJ Marottolo. "With two games at Minnesota and coming back to two games at Clarkson, that gives us two very hostile environments that will help get us ready for a very challenging league schedule
Sacred Heart also will rekindle an old rivalry from the MAAC and early Atlantic Hockey Association days, as they take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The Bobcats, now a member of the ECAC, host the Pioneers on December 11. The Pioneers also face the Yale Bulldogs for the third consecutive year in another in-state match-up on November 22, hosting them for the first time ever at Webster Bank Arena. SHU rounds out non-conference play on December 9 at Dartmouth.
"We're also excited about hosting Yale at Harbor Yard for the very first time, and playing another in state program in Quinnipiac. Our hope is that our fans and Connecticut hockey fans will get excited about these match-ups."
SHU begins Atlantic Hockey play with another in-state match-up, facing the UCONN Huskies in Storrs on October 22. Another intriguing match-up will be November 4-5 when the Pioneers travel to Air Force, where their season came to an end last year to the eventual AHA Champion Falcons. Sacred Heart and Air Force have met in the AHA playoffs three consecutive years and four of the last five years.
The Pioneers will play those eight home games at Webster Bank Arena in partnership with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL for a second consecutive season. SHU faces off at 12:00 pm against RIT on January 15, at 4:00 pm on December 3 against Robert Morris, January 14 against RIT, February 4 against Bentley, February 11 against UCONN, and February 18 against Holy Cross, at 6:00 pm against Niagara on November 27, and at 7:00 pm against Yale on November 22.
"We are very excited to be playing eight of our home games at Webster Bank Arena," said Marottolo. "Our guys are thrilled. We are grateful to Howard Saffan and the entire Bridgeport Sound Tiger organizaion for making us feel so at home."
The 2011-12 season marks the 19th season of Sacred Heart University and 8th season in the Atlantic Hockey Association.