February 15, 2007

Pioneers Face Holy Cross in Home-And-Home Set

Feb. 15, 2007

Setting the Scene... The Pioneers and Holy Cross meet in their second series of the year as the season arrives at its second to last weekend. The teams meet Friday night in Worcester and Saturday in Milford. The puck drops both nights at 7:00 pm. Friday's game can be heard on WICC 600 AM with coverage of Saturday's game on SacredHeartPioneers.com. Sacred Heart is coming off a weekend sweep of Mercyhurst and starts the weekend in second place in the standings, three points ahead of Army. Holy Cross split a series with Canisius last week and starts play in sixth place, two points behind Air Force for the final home playoff spot.

The Series... The Pioneers swept the first series of the year with Holy Cross, in November. After winning 5-2 in the opening game, in Milford, the Pioneers were able to finish the sweep with an overtime victory Saturday in Worcester. The Pioneers trailed going to the third period, came back to take the lead only to have Holy Cross tie it and force overtime, when Pierre-Luc O'Brien scored the game winning goal. The Pioneers have won five of the last six games against the Crusdaers, but Holy Cross leads the all-time series 14-11-1.

Pioneers Sweep Lakers... The Pioneers swept a weekend series from Mercyhurst, winning in Erie by counts of 5-2 and 4-2. The victories completed a series sweep of the Lakers for the Pioneers. SHU has won six straight games against Mercyhurst and seven of the last eight meetings with the Lakers. Sophomore Eric Giosa led the attack with a goal and five assists on the weekend. Sophomore Paul Ferraro and freshman Dave Jarman each had two goals in the series. Senior Pierre-Luc O'Brien scored an empty net goal Saturday night, his 66th goal of his career, setting a new school record for goals in a career.

Scouting the Crusaders... The Atlantic Hockey defending champion Holy Cross has been hurt by the graduation of an outstanding senior class last spring. The Crusaders have played to a 10-15-5 overall record and a 9-10-5 mark in league play, placing them in sixth place, two points behind Air Force. The Crusaders powerful offense is led by senior James Sixsmith who is second in the conference in points (41) and assists (28) along with scoring 13 goals. Junior Dale Reinhardt has scored a team leading 15 goals along with 15 assists for 30 points, second best on the team. The Crusaders have struggled to replace their two graduated goaltenders. Freshman Ian Dams has emerged as the number on netminder, posting a 3.11 goals against average and an .888 save percentage in 16 games. Freshman Tyler Chestnut and sophomore Charlie Lockwood have split the back-up duties. The Crusader power play has been strong, converting at a 20 percent average.

Hobey Nominees... Senior Pierre-Luc O'Brien and sophomore Bear Trapp have been nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, presented to the most outstanding player in college hockey. Fans now have the opportunity to select their favorite candidate for the list of top ten finalists on the new Hobey Baker Award website, www.hobeybaker.com.Voting in phase one will end on March 4. Fans may vote for one candidate at a time, but can vote multiple times per day. The standings will run concurrently on the Hobey Baker website. Phase two will begin on March 15 after the top ten finalists have been announced. To vote, visit the Vote For Hobey link on the Hobey Baker website, or just click on the Vote For Hobey button on the site's homepage.

Up Next... The Pioneers close out the regular season next weekend with a home-and-home set against Army. The teams will meet at Tate Rink on Friday night and rematch in Milford on Saturday. Saturday's game will feature Senior Night festivities for the Pioneer graduating players. Face-off both nights is set for 7:00 pm.