Sept. 27, 2006
Fairfield, CT -
The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team was picked to finish second in the Atlantic Hockey preseason poll released Wednesday at the league's annual media day. The Pioneers picked up 88 votes in the poll, including two first place nods. Mercyhurst took the top spot with 96 points and seven first place votes.
Last year's regular season and tournament champions, Holy Cross follows with 83 points and the final first place vote. Connecticut with 55 points was picked fourth, while Air Force and Bentley tied for fifth with 51 points. The final four teams tabbed by the league's coaches are Canisius (45 points), Rochester Institute of Technology (36 points), Army (32 points) and American International (13 points).
Leading this year's Pioneer squad is senior forward Pierre-Luc O'Brien (Nicolet, QC). The first team All-AHA selection set school records last season for most points (50) and assists (31) in a season, while leading the team in goal scoring with 19 tallies.
In addition to their top offensive line, the Pioneers welcome back their top goaltender Jason Smith (St. Lambert, QC) returns for his senior season, and second as the Pioneers number one option in net. Smith posted an 18-11-1 record with a 2.24 goals against average in 2005-2006, the best average in Atlantic Hockey. He also has a .927 save percentage. Those numbers placed him 13th in the country in goals against and 8th in the nation in save percentage. His 18 wins are the most in a single season by any Pioneer goaltender in Sacred Heart history.
The Pioneers open their season on Friday, October 6th with an exhibition game against the University of Ottawa at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford.