March 9, 2007

Pioneers Open AHA Tourney Against AIC Saturday Night

March 9, 2007

Setting the Scene... The Pioneers open the Atlantic Hockey playoffs by hosting the ninth seeded AIC Yellow Jackets. Face-off is set for 7:00 pm Saturday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion. The game will be broadcast on WICC 600 AM. Sacred Heart is the top seed in the tournament for the first time in school history. The Yellow Jackets beat Canisius 2-1 last Saturday in Buffalo in the play-in game to advance to the quarterfinals. The Pioneers won eight of their last ten games to close the regular season.

The Series... The Pioneers won both meetings with the Yellow Jackets this season, both coming in Springfield. SHU is unbeaten in the last six meetings with AIC, posting a 5-0-1 record in the last two seasons. The Pioneers are unbeaten in the last nine meetings (8-0-1) with AIC in Milford, dating back to the 1999-2000 season. The Pioneers lead the all time series with AIC 15-8-4.

Last Time Out... To close out the regular season two weeks ago, the Pioneers split a weekend series with Army winning at West Point Friday night before dropping the finale Saturday at home. Jason Smith got the win in goal Friday night his 37th career victory, setting a new school record. Dave Jarman scored his 10th goal, making him the fifth Pioneer in double digit goal scoring this year. The Pioneers clinched the top seed in the AHA playoffs with Friday's win.

Scouting the Yellow Jackets... The ninth seeded Yellow Jackets enter the quarterfinal round of the playoffs with a 8-24-1 record. Junior Jereme Tendler leads the Yellow Jacket attack with 28 points, 15 goals and 13 assists. Junior Mark Pavli is second on the team with seven goals and 11 assists, 18 points. Sophomore goaltender Tom Fenton has been the Yellow Jackets most important player, as AIC has not one a game in which Fenton was not between the pipes. In his 24 starts, Fenton has posted a 3.74 goals against average and an .877 save percentage. The Yellow Jackets power play has struggled, converting just 11 percent of the time.

Up Next... The winner of tonight's game advances to the AHA semifinals next weekend in Rochester. The final four will take place Friday night at Blue Cross Arena with the championship being held Saturday night.