Feb. 19, 2009
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart faces the Yellow Jackets of American International in the second-to-last weekend of the regular season. The Pioneers were swept by Army last week while AIC dropped a pair of games to Canisius before losing to UConn on Tuesday. The home-and-home series starts Friday night at 7:05 pm at the Milford Ice Pavilion with a quick turnaround for a 3:05 pm face-off Saturday afternoon at the Olympia Ice Center in Springfield.
The Series... Sacred Heart is unbeaten in ten of its last 11 eight meetings with AIC going 8-1-2. The teams split a series in November with each team wining on their home ice, the Yellow Jackets 5-4 in overtime, the Pioneers by a 4-0 score. Three of the last four games between the two teams have gone to overtime. Pioneers are 19-9-5 all-time against AIC.
Pioneers Swept by Knights... The Pioneers were swept against Army, losing 4-3 at home and 3-1 on the road. It's the sixth time this season the Pioneers have been swept in a weekend this year, the most series losses since their first season in Division I in 1998-99. The Pioneers have now lost their last four trips to Tate Rink. Junior Erik Boisvert had three points on the weekend, scoring two goals to take over the team lead with 12. Senior Bear Trapp had an assist Friday night to extend his school record career total to 95.
Balancing Act on Attack... A large junior class of forwards includes the trio of Dave Jarman, Nick Johnson and Erik Boisvert. The Pioneers have had 18 different players score goals and have 22 players with at least one point. After each scoring double digit goals last season, Erik Boisvert leads the team this year with 12 tallies while Eric Giosa has 11 goals.
Playoff Pursuit... As the playoffs near, Sacred Heart sits in the seventh place in the standings. The bottom four teams will play first round games on March 7th at the highest seed. The winners will join the top six teams in the best-of-three quarterfinals March 13-15 at the high seed. The quarterfinal winners advance to the AHA Championships in Rochester, NY March 20-21.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets... The Yellow Jackets from American International are mired in a 17 game winless streak, having not won a game since November 25th. AIC's only point in that streak was a tie at Robert Morris on January 4th, eleven games ago. AIC lost two games to UConn last weekend. Junior Chris Campanale leads the team with 15 points, five goals and 10 assists. Senior Chad Richardson has scored a team-leading seven goals, while freshman Michael Penny has six goals on the year. The Yellow Jackets have the worst defense in the nation, giving up 4.23 goals per game. Sophomore Dan Ramierez has seen the majority of the time in goal, recording a 4.02 goals against average in 21 starts. The Yellow Jackets power-play has converted just 6.2 percent of its chances, worst in the nation. The penalty kill unit is second-worst in the nation at 75.2%.
Up Next... In the regular season's final weekend, the Pioneers will face-off against Holy Cross in a home-and-home series. The teams meet Friday night at 7:05 pm at the Hart Center in Worcester and will close the season Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Friday's game can be heard on WICC 600 and Saturday's game on SacredHeartPioneers.com.