#10 Sacred Heart Pioneers (12-22-0) vs. #7 Canisius Golden Griffins (12-19-3)
Atlantic Hockey Tournament - First Round (Best-of-3 Series)
March 7-9, 7:05 p.m. - Buffalo State Ice Arena (1,800) - Buffalo, N.Y.
Setting the Scene... The Pioneers open the postseason with a first-round series at Canisius this weekend.
Last Time Out... Alex Vazzano made 25 saves as Sacred Heart wrapped up the regular season with a 2-1 win on March 1 over UConn. Evan Jasper and Drew George tallied the Pioneers' goals. Sacred Heart was 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, holding the Huskies to just two shots.
All-Time vs. Canisius... The Pioneers lead the all-time series with the Golden Griffins 11-10-4. Canisius had won five straight games against Sacred Heart before the Pioneers won 3-2 on Jan. 12 to salvage a split of that weekend's series.
Last Meeting vs. Canisius... Sacred Heart scored three unanswered goals to erase an early 2-0 Canisius lead, winning 3-2 on Jan. 12, 2014. Drew George scored the game-winning goal with 3:01 remaining in the third period. Jeff Carroll and Will Rayner also scored for Sacred Heart.
Strong Finish... The Pioneers finished the regular season by going 6-4 in their last 10 games. Sacred Heart scored at least four goals in six of those games. Drew George had 12 points in the last 10 games on six goals and six assists. Jordan Minello also scored six goals. Justin Danforth (3G, 8A) and Jeff Carroll (2G, 8A) also had double-digit points in the last 10 games.
Winning Formula... Sacred Heart averaged 3.8 goals per game in its 12 wins this season, holding opponents to 2.2 goals per game. The Pioneers had at least three goals in 10 of their wins, and were 11-for-50 on the power play. Sacred Heart is 8-4 this year when scoring first and 8-1 when leading after the first period.
Just As He Drew It Up... After not recording a point in five straight games from Jan. 18-Feb. 8, junior Drew George has had a point in each of the last six games. George had two goals and an assist last weekend as the Pioneers split with UConn. He was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week on Feb. 25 for his five-point effort against Bentley. George is the only Sacred Heart player with double-digit goals (12) and double-digit assists (13) this season. During this six-game point streak, George has six goals and six assists.
Riding The CDM Line... The line of Justin Danforth, Jeff Carroll, and Jordan Minello first teamed up on Jan. 11 at Canisius. Over the next 14 games, the rookie trio has compiled 43 points on 17 goals and 26 assists. Danforth has three goals and 13 assists during this stretch, with Carroll scoring six goals with nine assists. Minello has seven goals and five assists in the last 14 games. The line is second (Danforth - 29), sixth (Carroll - 21), and seventh (Minello - 20) respective in Atlantic Hockey in freshman scoring.
Hey, We Score Too... Since being put on a line together on Feb. 14, Drew George, Spencer Graboski, and Ben Lake have combined for 12 goals in 17 assists in six games. Graboski scored his first three collegiate goals during this stretch and added six assists. He earned Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week honors on Feb. 24 after having a goal and three assists in Sacred Heart's sweep of Bentley. Lake has three goals and five assists in the last six games.
Scouting the Golden Griffins... Canisius wrapped up the regular season with two losses to RIT by scores of 1-0 and 3-1. The Golden Griffins 2-5-1 in their last eight games, winning at home over Air Force and Robert Morris. Senior Kyle Gibbons leads Canisius with 13 goals and 17 assists. Sophomore Ralph Cuddemi has 10 goals and 14 assists. Canisius enters the Atlantic Hockey Tournament as the #7 seed, which it had last season when it won the Atlantic Hockey Championship.