February 28, 2008

Pioneers Close Out Regular Season Against Army

Feb. 28, 2008

Setting the Scene... The Pioneers meet Army in the final weekend of the AHA regular season. SHU starts the weekend in second place, two points behind first place Army but just three points clear of fifth place Mercyhurst. SHU would hold the tiebreaker if they finish tied with Army. Friday night will be Senior Night at the Milford Ice Pavilion while the regular season will close out Saturday at West Point. Face-off both nights is 7:05 pm. Friday night's game can be heard on WICC 600 AM while both games can be seen on the B2 Networks.

The Series... Sacred Heart and Army split their first series of the year, with each team winning on home ice. The teams split eight points last year, as they played to two draws early in the year and then split a series, with each side winning on the road, in the final weekend of the season. Sacred Heart leads the all-time series with Army, 18-11-2.

SHU Splits With Holy Cross... The Pioneers split a weekend series with Holy Cross, losing in Worcester 3-1 Friday night before rebounding for a 4-0 victory on home ice Saturday. Senior Alex Parent had a goal and two assists to record his seventh straight multipoint weekend. Junior Bear Trapp had a goal and an assist on the weekend. Junior Stefan Drew made 31 saves Saturday night to earn his third shutout of the season. Saturday's win clinched a home ice spot for the Pioneers in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs.

Balancing Act... Fifteen players have scored goals for SHU already this year. Of those, five players are in double digit goal scoring. Junior Eric Giosa and sophomores Dave Jarman and Erik Boisvert all have 10 goals, while Nick Johnson has 11. Jarman is tied for team lead in assists with 19 while Boisvert has 18 helpers and Johnson 15. Johnson leads the league with four game winning goals. Defensively, junior Paul Ferraro has 15 points (four goals, eleven assists) and Dave Grimson has 14 points (5-9) on the year.

Streaks and Trends... Parent has tallied points each of his last 14 games....Jarman and Boisvert had their point streaks snapped at Holy Cross at seven and nine, respectively...Sacred Heart is ranked sixth in the country in penalty minutes per game with 18.1...SHU has the second ranked power play in the nation with a conversion rate of 24.8 pecent...The Pioneers have scored at least one powerplay goal in 13 of their last 15 games. The Pioneers are ranked first in the country in combined special teams at 58.5%.

Scouting the Black Knights... The Black Knights of Army start the weekend 15-8-3 in league play, good for a two point lead in first place in the standings. Army split a pair of games at Bentley last weekend. Goaltender Josh Kassel has been red hot over the last month, having allowed just 10 goals in his last 11 games, and posting four shutouts in that span. Kassel leads Atlantic Hockey and is fourth in the country in goals against average with a 1.94 mark. He has backstopped the Black Knights to the best scoring defense in the league at two goals per game. Army has some firepower up front as well, boasting two of the top five scorers in the league. Sophomore Owen Meyer is third in the league in goals with 17 along with 15 assists for a team high 32 points, fourth in the league. Meanwhile, senior Luke Flicek is fifth in the league in scoring with 32 points and fourth in assists with 21 to go along with 11 goals. Senior Bryce Hollweg is third on the team with eight goals and 16 assists, 24 points.

Up Next... The Pioneers will host the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals next weekend at the Milford Ice Pavilion. The best of three series will be held Friday-Sunday March 7-9 at 7:05 pm.