Sacred Heart Pioneers (2-2-0, 1-0-0 AHA) at AIC Yellow Jackets (0-1-0, 0-0-0 AHA)
October 26, 7:05 p.m. - Olympia Ice Center (2,200) - West Springfield, Mass.
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart continues its current five-game road swing Saturday night at AIC, looking to remain unbeaten in Atlantic Hockey play.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers fell behind 3-0 after one period at Rensselaer last Saturday night and didn't recover, losing 7-1 to the Engineers at Houston Field House. Freshman Jeff Carroll scored ihs first career goal for Sacred Heart's lone tally. Alex Vazzano suffered his first loss in goal as a Pioneer, making 28 saves.
All-Time vs. AIC... Sacred Heart leads the overall series with AIC 29-16-6. Last season, the Pioneers were 0-2-1 against the Yellow Jackets, scoring just three goals in the three games. AIC is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings against the Pioneers. Prior to that, Sacred Heart had a five-game winning streak in the series.
Nylen Named AHA Rookie of the Week... Freshman defenseman Mitch Nylen was named the Atlantic Hockey Travel Team USA Rookie of the Week on Tuesday. He's the second Pioneer to receive a weekly honor from the conference this season, as Alex Vazzano was named Goaltender of the Week after the first week of the season. Nylen scored his first career goal on the power play to put the Pioneers up 2-0 on Bentley on Oct. 16. He then assisisted on Will Rayner's power play goal in the second period that gave Sacred Heart a 3-1 lead.
Vazzano Making Stops ... Despite allowing seven goals at Rensselaer last Saturday, redshirt-sophomore goaltender Alex Vazzano ranks among the top-five goaltenders in Atlantic Hockey in both save percentage and goals against average. Vazzano is third in the conference with a .917 save percentage and fourth with a goals against average of 3.00.
Hey Rookies... Sacred Heart's freshman class has accounted for eight of the Pioneers' 15 points on the season. Mitch Nylen and Jeff Carroll are the only rookies so far to have tallied their first career goals. Nylen scored his on the power play in Sacred Heart's win over Bentley while Carroll scored last Saturday at Rensselaer. Both players have two points on the season, as does Justin Danforth who had two assists against Bentley.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets... Picked to finish 11th in the preseason Atlantic Hockey Coaches' Poll, AIC opened its season last Saturday with a 10-4 loss at #8 Providence. Brandon Fagerheim scored 49 seconds into the game to give the Yellow Jackets a 1-0 lead. AIC trailed 3-2 midway through the second period before the Friars ended the game on a 7-2 run. Fagerheim and Jason Popek both had a goal and an assist in the game. Goaltender Ryan Kerpan made 36 saves.