Setting the Scene…The Pioneers return to action for a home-and-home series against the AIC Yellow Jackets in two Atlantic Hockey Association games. SHU travels to West Springfield Friday before hosting the Yellow Jackets on Saturday at the Milford Ice Pavilion, with both games beginning at 7:05 pm.
Game Coverage...Video and Audio of this weekend's games will be available at www.SacredHeartPioneers.com by following the video and audio links on the men's hockey schedule page.
About the Pioneers…Senior Matt Gingera leads SHU with nine goals and is second with 15 points. Freshman Brian Sheehan leads the team with 16 points and 10 assists. Junior captain Eric Delong has contributed 13 points, followed by Ben Ketchum with 10 points. Steven Legatto has seen the majority of time in net this year, making the fifth most saves in the AHA (594).
About the Yellow Jackets...Ben Meisner has made the second most saves (690) in the AHA. Adam Pleskach (9-7-16) leads the team in goals and points, while Nielsson Arcibal (5-10-15) is first in assists and second in points for AIC. After beating first-place Mercyhurst at home on 1/13, AIC has lost three in a row, including two at Niagara last weekend.
Gingera Closing in on 100…Pioneer assistant captain Matt Gingera has scored a team-best nine goals and is second on the team with 15 points, putting him at 53 goals and 38 assists for 91 points in his career. He is now two behind fifth place (Garrett Larson-55) and three behind third place (Bear Trapp-56) on the all-time SHU hockey goals list. He is nine points away from becoming the 11th player in Pioneer Hockey history to accumulate 100 points or more for a career.
All-Time Vs. AIC...SHU is 28-13-5 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, but has lost its last three head-to-head meetings. The Pioneers lost 7-4 earlier this season in West Springfield on 10/28. Jason Popek scored twice for AIC, as did Brian Sheehan for SHU. The Pioneers gave up two shorthanded goals on the same power play within eight seconds of the final minute of the second period before scoring three third-period goals to fall short in a comeback bid.
Last Time Out...The Pioneers saw their losing streak extended to 10 games last weekend, getting swept 2-0 and 4-3 at Canisius. SHU took a 3-1 lead in the third behind power play goals by Drew George and Tommy Castonguay on Sunday afternoon's game, but then surrendered three unanswered led by Taylor Law's back-to-back goals to tie.
Pioneers Upset of #8 Yale 7-6…The Pioneers pulled off their greatest ever upset, beating # 8 Yale 7-6 Tuesday night, 11/22/11 at Webster Bank Arena. It marked the team's first win of the year. Chad Filteau lead SHU with two goals, including the game-winner with 4:14 left in the third period. Steven Legatto made 48 saves in net for the win.
Doubling Up...Six times this season, a Pioneer has scored twice in the same game. They are: Brian Sheehan, 10/25 at Bentley and 10/28 at AIC; Chad Filteau, 11/22 vs. Yale; Matt Gingera and Ben Ketchum, 11/26 vs. Niagara; Eric Delong, 12/3 vs. Robert Morris. No Pioneer has registered a hat trick this year, the last one coming from Gingera who scored three in a come-from-behind 6-3 win at Bentley in last season's AHA First Round Playoff game on 3/5/11.
And the Leaders are...Eric Delong, captain, and Matt Gingera and Chris Bailer, assistant captains. Delong played every game last season, has already racked up 65 points (24 G, 41 A), and continues to be one of the team's strongest defensive forwards. Gingera enjoyed a break-out junior season thanks to a strong finish, scoring nine goals in the final six games, including a third-period hat trick in SHU's win over Bentley in the First Round of the AHA Tournament. Bailer, a stay-at-home defenseman, is a shot-blocking specialist who commands the respect of his teammates with his willingness to sacrifice his body.
Return of the Mac...Reid MacLeod returned to the line-up for his first games of the season two weekends ago a Mercyhurst. The junior winger has registered seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 40 career games. Freshman defenseman Jared Eng also returned to the line-up against Mercyhurst after missing all but two games first semester with an injury.