Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team travels just up the road to Quinnipiac for the make-up game against Air Force. The matchup was rescheduled due to the government shutdown on January 20.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers recorded three power play goals in the 5-3 win over Niagara to earn the weekend series sweep. Marc Johnstone led the way with two power-play goals. Alex Bates, Jackson Barliant and Ruslan Rakhmatov also lit the lamp in the win. Vito Bavaro and Matt Tugnutt both recorded multi-assist nights. Brett Magnus recorded 33 saves in his ninth win of the season.
Last Meeting... SHU earned it's second straight win at Cadet Ice Arena with the 2-1 victory on January 19. Jackson Barliant opened the scoring early in the first period. The Falcons were quick to answer on Marshall Bowery's goal at 12:35 in the first. SHU pulled ahead at 3:22 in the first as Mel Melconian knocked in the game winner off the no-look pass from Vito Bavaro. Brett Magnus was sensational in goal, shutting the Falcons down with 26 saves in the final two periods. He recorded 17 in the third period to secure the win.
All-Time Series... The Falcons hold a 26-10-6 lead in the all-time series between both teams. In the last 10 meetings, Air Force has the 5-3-2 edge against SHU. Today's matchup will decide the season series winner with a 1-1-1 split entering Tuesday.
Scouting The Falcons... After the Pioneers win on January 19, Air Force has gone 4-1-1 in the last six games. The Falcons have vaulted into the fifth spot in the Atlantic Hockey standings with a 10-10-3 record in league play. Erik Baskin and Evan Giesler are the team's leading point scorers with 19 points in 31 games. Baskin also leads the offense with 12 goals. Junior netminder Billy Christopoulos has had a breakout campaign, he is among the league leaders with 2.29 goals against average and .914 save percentage. Air Force owns the top scoring defense in Atlantic Hockey at 2.45 goals per game.
Road Grit... With it's first weekend sweep since 2016 this past weekend, the Pioneers improved to 7-7-1 on the road in 2017-18. SHU has won it's last four games on the road dating back to the win over Air Force on January 19. In that span the Pioneers have outscored opponents 18-7. Matt Tugnutt leads the team with six points and five assists in the streak. Jackson Barliant leads SHU with four goals in the road stretch.
Clare Control... Co-captain Liam Clare had a strong weekend dishing the puck for the Pioneers with a team-leading four assists and a plus-five rating. He recorded his second playmaker of the season in the Pioneers 7-1 win over Niagara, assisting on SHU's first three scores. He then recorded his seventh power play assist of the year on the Pioneers second goal in the 5-3 win on Saturday. Clare has recorded double-digit assist's in all three seasons on the SHU defense.