Dec. 30, 2008
Setting the Scene... Sacred Heart rings in the New Year as they welcome Niagara to Milford for a two game series this weekend. The Pioneers have been idle since recording a tie and loss at Colorado College the weekend before Christmas. Niagara has been off since sweeping a series from Robert Morris in early December. The Pioneers and Purple Eagles will face-off Friday and Saturday night at 7:05 pm with coverage on the Pioneer Radio Network and B2 Network.
The Series... This weekend is the second series between Sacred Heart and Niagara, and a return engagement after last year's weekend in upstate New York. The Purple Eagles won both those games by a two goal margins, tacking on empty net goals in each game. SHU is 1-11-4 against teams from the CHA all-time.
Pioneers Tie in the Rockies... The Pioneers earned a tie in their trip to Colorado College this weekend. SHU's 2-2 tie Friday night was their first ever point against a WCHA team and snapped a three game winless streak in Colorado for the Pioneers. Senior Dave Grimson had a goal and an assist in the draw while senior Stefan Drew made 40 saves. Saturday's loss snapped SHU's three game unbeaten streak.
Leader of the Troops... Leading the Pioneers this year is senior captain Dave Grimson. The defenseman has played every game the last two years and is one of the best offensive defensemen on the team. He has led all Pioneer defensemen in scoring the last two years and has 15 goals and 45 assists, 60 points. Grimson had a goal and an assist against Colorado College, earning AHA Player of the Week honors. Junior Matt Gordon is one of two assistant captains. Gordon is one of the top checking forwards on the team.
Home Cooking... The Pioneers will start the second half of the season with three straight home games, as they face Niagara and UConn at the Milford Ice Pavilion.. Following that stretch, the Pioneers will play six of their next eight games on the road as they make long trips to Merychurst, Canisius and RIT, sandwiched in between a home series with Bentley.
Scouting the Purple Eagles... The defending CHA champion Niagara Purple Eagles are off to a 7-6-1 start in the first half of the season. NU finished the first half of the season by winning five of their last six games. Junior Chris Moran leads the Niagara attack with six goals and five assists, 11 points on the season. junior defenseman Tyler Gotto is the quarterback of the offense, ringing up eight helpers on the season. Defense has been a strength for the Purple Eagles, led by goaltender Julian Pagliero, whose 2.25 goals against avearge is tops in College Hockey America. Niagara's special teams have struggled this year, ranking sixth from last in the nation, with a 45.8 percent conversion rate.
Up Next... The Pioneers return to Atlantic Hockey play Tuesday night when they host UConn in a midweek conetest. The Pioneers and Huskies will face-off at the Milford Ice Pavilion at 7:05 pm with coverage on the B2 Networks and SacredHeartPioneers.com