March 6, 2009
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart and Connecticut open the Atlantic Hockey playoffs Saturday night with a first round game at the Milford Ice Pavilion. The Pioneers are the number eight seed with the Huskies seeded ninth. SHU closed the regular season with a split against Holy Cross while UConn took three of four points from Bentley. Face-off of the first round contest is set for 7:05 PM and coverage of the game can be found along the B2 Network.
Pioneers Split With Cross... The Pioneers split their final regular season series with Holy Cross, with each team winning on their home ice. Eric Giosa scored the overtime-game winner Saturday night as the Pioneers won on Senior Night. Giosa finished the regular season with a team leading 14 goals. Trapp factored in on all four goals Saturday night, tallying a goal and three assists. Senior Kyle Tyll skated in his 142nd career game Saturday night, tying him for second most all-time.
The Series... The Pioneers won both regular season meetings with UConn, winning on home ice twice, 5-3 in December, and 6-1 in January. Sacred Heart has won eight of its last nine games against UConn, including last year's AHA quarterfinal playoff series two games to one. This is the third time in the last four years these teams have met in the playoffs. The Huskies upset the Pioneers in the quarterfinals of the 2006 tournament. Sacred Heart leads the all-time series with UConn is 20-19-3.
Pioneers in the Playoffs...Sacred Heart is making its 13th straight postseason appearance. The Pioneers reached the inaugural AHA championship game in 2004, but lost in the quarterfinal round the next two years. In their run to the championship round, SHU beat UConn, and Mercyhurst before falling to Holy Cross in the title game. In 2004-05, the Pioneers dropped a road decision to Holy Cross in the quarterfinal round. In 2006, SHU fell to UConn, 4-1, in the quarterfinals at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Last year, Sacred Heart posted a 4-0 shutout of AIC in the quarterfinals before losing a tough game to Air Force in overtime in the semifinals. Last year the Pioneers won a three game series against UConn in Quarterfinals before losing to Mercyhurst in the Final Five game in Rochester. The Pioneers have advanced to the Championship Round two years in a row.
Balancing Act on Attack... The Pioneers have had 19 different players score goals and have 23 players with at least one point. After each scoring double digit goals last season, Eric Giosa led the team in goals scoring during the regular season with 14 goals while Erik Boisvert scored 12 goals.
Scouting the Huskies... The Huskies of UConn are entering the playoffs on an up note, having gone in four of their last five games entering the tournament. The Huskies took three of four points from Bentley last weekend. Junior Chris Ochoa leads the UConn attack with 16 goals and 7 assists, 23 points. Sophomore Jason Krispel has tallied 28 points on the season, including three goals and a team leading 25 assists. Sophomore Andrew Olson has 12 goals and nine assists while rookie Marcello Ranallo has six goals and 16 assists, 22 points, to his credit. Goaltender Beau Erikcson had a strong weekend against Bentley, earning AHA Goaltender of Week Honors. The Huskies penalty kill has struggled this year, killing off just 79 percent, tied for fifth worst in the nation.
Up Next... The winner of Saturday's game advances to next week's Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals against either Air Force or RIT. The best of three series will be played in either Colorado Springs or Rochester, respectivley from Friday March 13-Sunday March 15th with games starting at 7:05 pm local time.