Setting the Scene...The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team concludes the 2017-18 regular season with a weekend series at Army West Point.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers came up big in the final minute to earn the 5-3 win over RIT this past Saturday for the series split. Austin McIlmurray and Vito Bavaro found the back of the net in the first as SHU earned the 2-1 lead. RIT tied things up in the second before both teams traded goals to start the third period as Zach Tsekos scored for the Pioneers. SHU worked the puck through the RIT zone with a minute to go as Mike Crocock broke the 3-3 tie with 52 seconds to go. Tsekos made the heads up defensive play to net the empty net goal to seal the win. Brett Magnus recorded 22 saves in his 11th win of the season.
Last Meeting... The Pioneers and Black Knights skated to a 3-3 tie in the first collegiate hockey game at the newly renovated NYCB Live, home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 6. Army West Point took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission before Zach Tsekos and Marc Johnstone gave SHU the lead in the second period. The Black Knights tied things up with a power play goal at 10:10 in the third period. The Pioneers outshot Army West Point four to one in overtime but were unable to light the lamp again.
All-Time Series... The all time series between both team's is knotted up at 28-28-9. Army West Point holds the 4-3-3 edge in the last 10 meetings. SHU is looking for its first win since 2014 at Tate Rink, holding a 0-3-1 record in the last four meetings.
Scouting The Black Knights... Army West Point enters the final weekend with 26 points (10-10-6 AHA) currently tied for sixth in the conference. The Black Knights are coming off back-to-back weekend splits against Canisius and Bentley. Michael Wilson paces the offense with 17 goals. He is tied with Dominic Franco for team lead in scoring with 26 points. Goaltender Cole Bruns ranks first among Atlantic Hockey goalies with a .919 save percentage. The Black Knights rank first in Atlantic Hockey on the penalty kill at 87.7% and second in scoring defense allowing 2.65 goals per game.
Finish Strong... Entering the final weekend the Atlantic Hockey standings are all but settled for playoffs. SHU enters the weekend in 11th place in the standings with four points left on the board. SHU can finish anywhere between 7th-11th depending the results from the final weekend. The Pioneers have gone 4-1 in the last five games, outscoring their opponents 19-13 in that span. Jackson Barliant and Marc Johnstone lead SHU with three goals each and defensemen Liam Clare and Ruslan Rakhmatov lead the way with four assists.
Tsekos Tearing It Up... During the Pioneers recent stretch, Zach Tsekos has been on fire tying for the team lead with five points (2 G, 3A) in the last five games as SHU has skated to a 4-1 record. His impact has been most notable on the face-off dot. In the recent five-game stretch, SHU is 52% on the draw with Tsekos leading the way winning 53 out of 84 face-offs (63%).
Magnus Making His Mark... Brett Magnus has been a mainstay between the pipes for the Pioneers in his three seasons and is treading up the SHU record books. He has reached double-digit wins all three years and now sits fourth all-time in school history with 34 wins. His 89 appearances rank second on the SHU leaderboard. Magnus is also fourth all-time with 5148:40 career minutes and 2,380 saves and counting.