Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team heads to the John A. Ryan Skating Arena for a Tuesday night matinee. The game will start a string of six contests in the next 12 days for the Pioneers.
Last Time Out... SHU skated to a 3-3 overtime tie against Army West Point last Saturday at newly renovated NYCB Live, home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Vito Bavaro opened the scoring with his third straight power play goal halfway through the first period. The Black Knights responded with back-to-back goals to take the 2-1 lead into intermission. SHU answered in the second with goals by Zach Tsekos and Marc Johnstone to take the 3-2 lead. Army took advantage of its second power play goal halfway through the third period. SHU held the shot edge 4-1 in overtime but had to settle for a point. Junior Brett Magnus registered 29 saves in the tie.
Last Meeting... The Pioneers fell to the Falcons 3-2 in double overtime in the deciding game three of 2017 Atlantic Hockey first round matchup. Jordan Minello broke open the scoring at 12:42 in the first. Bentley responded with a two-goal run with Max French & Matt Riggleman in the first and second periods. SHU tied things up in the third on a goal by Ruslan Rakhmatov. The first overtime saw the Pioneers hold a 10-7 shot advantage but neither team found the back of the net. The Falcons picked up the series win on a breakaway goal by Ryner Gorowsky 30 seconds into the second overtime.
All-Time Series... Both teams are certainly familiar with each other, meeting 12 times in the last two seasons. Bentley held the slight edge in the seven meetings last year at 4-3 including the first round series win. The Falcons own a 6-4 advantage in the last 10 meetings but SHU holds a slight 32-31-8 lead in the series overall.
Scouting The Falcons… Bentley enters the weekend 7-8-4, 4-6-3 in Atlantic Hockey. The Falcons seven game unbeaten streak was snapped by No. 9 Northeastern on Saturday with a 6-1 defeat. Bentley boasts the nations fifth best power play unit, converting at a 25.6% clip. Kyle Schmidt & Luke Santerno lead the offense with 16 points each. Schmidt is tied for team lead with seven goals, while Santerno holds a team leading 12 helpers. Aidan Pelino leads Bentley's goaltending corp with six wins coming during the recent streak.
Power Play Clicking… In the opening half of the season, the Pioneers power play unit went just 11.3% (8-71) on the man advantage. SHU opened the second half with a power play score in each of the last three games with a 45.5% clip (5-11). The Pioneers netted a season-high three power play goals in the 5-5 overtime tie against Holy Cross on December 30.