Setting the Scene...The Sacred Heart men's ice hockey team travels to Vermont to kick off the new year against Hockey East foe Vermont. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.
Last Time Out...The Pioneers swept a road series against Atlantic Hockey rival RIT on December 7 and 8. The Pioneers took the first game in overtime by a final score of 4-3 as senior Mike Lee scored the overtime game winner off a pair of assists by red-shirt junior Jason Cotton and sophomore Marc Johnstone. The Pioneers took the second game in convincing fashion tallying six goals to walk out of Rochester with a 6-4 victory and a series sweep.
Last Meeting...Brady Leisenring scored two goals and assisted on two others, as the University of Vermont Catamounts shut out the Sacred Heart University Pioneers, 6-0, on Oct. 8 2004. Sacred Heart fell behind late in the first period as Torrey Mitchell scored the first goal of his collegiate career on a feed from Scott Misfud for the 1-0 lead. That goal would turn out to be all the Catamounts needed as they smotherd the Pioneers allowing only two shots on goal in the first period and 15 on the game. Kevin LaPointe kept the Pioneers in the game through the second period, giving up only one additional goal in the second frame off the stick of Leisenring. Leisenring quickly ended any Pioneer hopes of a comeback early in the third period as he scored his second goal just 0:33 into the third period. Scott Mifsud added a pair of goals and Chris Myers netted one more to complete a four-goal third period, and seal a 6-0 victory.
Scouting The Catamounts...Last season Vermont tallied a 10-20-7 overall record (6-12-6 Hockey East) the Catamounts will look to improve this season with young new talent being added to the 2018-19 roster. Vermont was selected to finish 10th out of 11 teams in the Hockey East preseason poll . Under the leadership of Head coach Kevin Sneddon, six new freshman join the team (four forwards, and two Defensemen). Freshmen John DeRoche, Joe Cipollone and Dallas Comeau will be the top newcomers up front. The two new defensemen freshman join an experienced blueline as Jake Massie, Owen Grant and Christian Evers all return. Overall, Vermont has six freshmen, 12 sophomores, seven juniors, and two seniors on the roster this season. In net, Vermont returns junior Stefanos Lekkas, who started 35 out of 37 games last season. Lekkas sported a 2.84 goals against average along with a .914 save percentage while registering a 10-19-6 record in 2017-18.
Cotton Key Resource for Pioneers... Redshirt Junior Jason Cotton has been tied for being the teams leading goal scorer for the Pioneers as he netted a goal in the series against RIT as well as compiled two assists for a total of three points. He currently is tied for seventh in the Atlantic Hockey League in power play goals with three and is tied for first on team in goals with five.
Godbout Heats Up... Sophomore Marcel Godbout has been on a hot streak as he has tallied a total of two goals in the past five games including one against Canisius this past weekend. He also recorded an assist in the Canisus series as well. He scored his first collegiate goal in the teams matchup against Army West Point on Nov 10.
Benson and Lee Earn Atlantic Hockey Honors:Senior defenseman Mike Lee and freshman goalie Josh Benson each received weekly awards for their performances against RIT this weekend. Senior defenseman Mike Lee scored two goals, blocked two shots, and finished plus-4 as Sacred Heart swept a pair of road games at RIT last weekend. Lee's goals both came in Friday's 4-3 overtime victory, his first giving Sacred Heart a 2-1 lead in the second period and his second coming with five seconds left in the overtime period to give the Pioneers a dramatic victory.
Benson had an impressive weekend as he tallied a total of 59 saves and was earned 2 wins he now has three on the year. He tallied a GAA of 3.36 for the series and currently now has a GAA of 2.26 which is the best on the team. He also compiled a save percentage of .885 in the series while now leading the team in save percentage with .918. Freshman Finding There Way: This years freshman class is showing impressive growth as they have scored a total of six goals and ten assists for a total of 16 points. Freshman Todd Goehring netted his first career goal in the Canisius series while Austin Magera and Ryan Steele each compiled assists. Steele recorded one while Magera tallied two.