March 2, 2007
Fairfield, CT - Senior Jason Smith (St. Lambert, QC) has been selected to participate in the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge. In addition, seniors Pierre-Luc O'Brien (Nicolet, QC) and Michelle Panella (Marlboro, NJ) were named as alternates for the event. The competition will be held on April 6th, as part of the NCAA Frozen Four festivities at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Smith backstopped the Pioneers to the top seed of the 2007 Atlantic Hockey Tournament. This season he set the all-time mark at Sacred Heart for careers wins with 37, while last year posting 18 victories also a new record. During the regular season, Smith, who is a draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, has appeared in 26 games, while posting a 15-8-3 record with a 2.82 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.
O'Brien led the Pioneer men's ice hockey team in scoring during the regular season, with 16 goals, 26 assists and 42 points for the season. He was sixth in the Atlantic Hockey Association in scoring and fourth in the league in assists. For his career O'Brien has 67 goals, 88 assists and 155 points, all school records. O'Brien was named the CSTV/HCA National Player of the Month for November after piling up 23 points in nine games.
Panella was second in scoring on the Pioneer women's ice hockey team. She tallied 41 points on the season, including 24 goals and 17 assists. Panella has eight power play goals, second best on the squad. Her two shorthanded tallies and two game winning goals are tied for the most of any Pioneer.
The Skills Challenge will be conducted in an East versus West format with each team having six male position players, six female position players, two male goaltenders and two female goaltenders. An alternate list has been established in the event that players have to withdraw from the competition due to other commitments, such as their team's participation in the Men's or Women's Frozen Four.
To be eligible, all players must have exhausted their collegiate eligibility and be nominated by their head coach. The players were selected by representatives from the American Hockey Coaches Association, the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Ice Hockey Committees and the National Youth Sports Corporation. The competitions will include puck control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, rapid fire shooting, accuracy shooting and penalty shot. Each competitor will receive a complete set of equipment and a full uniform from Nike Bauer Hockey.
Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased at the Scottrade Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 314/241-1888. The Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge will begin at 7:30 p.m. Central time and will be preceded by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award at 6 p.m. and the Hockey Humanitarian Award at 6:35 p.m. The Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge and the Hobey Baker Memorial Award will both be shown live on ESPNU.