Setting the Scene.... The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team returns home as the Pioneers look to advance to the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals for the first time since 2009-10 with a quarterfinals series at home against RIT. The Pioneers kick off the series on Wednesday with a puck-drop set for 7:05 p.m.
Last Time Out... The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team split the finals regular season series against AIC on Thursday Feb.28 and Saturday Mar. 2 as the Pioneers took the first game 5-2 while falling in the second game by a final score of 4-1. First-year Austin Magera tallied two goals for the Pioneers in the 5-2 victory and was later rewarded with receiving Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Month.
Scouting the Tigers... The Tigers (15-15-4, 13-11-4 AHA) were last in action on March 2, falling to Canisius in the regular season finale, 2-1. RIT finished fifth in the Atlantic Hockey league standings with a conference record of 13-11-4 and an overall record of 15-15-4. On offense the Tigers are led by senior forward Abbott Girduckis who leads the team in points with 34 and goals with 10. In goal, sophomore Logan Drackett tallies a record of 12-14-4 and compiles a GAA of 2.58 with a save percentage of 91.1.
Last Meeting.... The Pioneers split a two game series against RIT that took place on Feb. 15 and 16. SHU fell in the first game by a final score of 2-0 while the Pioneers won the second game in an overtime thriller as first-year Austin Magera nailed the game winner to give the Pioneers the 4-3 OT victory over the Tigers.
February Was a Month to Remember.... The Pioneers had an incredible month of February as SHU went 7-1-1 for the month which was the best month the Pioneers have had this year. SHU was on a tear as they won four straight games to help propel them to their best regular season finish since 2009-10.
Benson Being Goalie Suits Well.... First-year netminder Josh Benson has had an impressive first season compiling a record of 12-7-2 with a GAA of 2.37 which is second in Atlantic Hockey as well as tallies a save percentage of .904 which is fourth in Atlantic Hockey.
Hladin Shines on Senior Day... Senior Stephen Hldain picked up his first goals of the season in Friday nights match against Army as he tallied two goals for the Pioneers in the 5-0 win over the Black Knights. His career totals took a boost as he now tallies 17 goals, 21 assists for 38 points in his career.
History Repeating Itself?.... The last time RIT and SHU faced each other in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs came in last years first round series as the Pioneers took the series 2-1 with a game winning OT goal by Jackson Barliant to send the Pioneers the the quarterfinals against Mercyhurst.
Magera Making the Impact... Freshman Austin Magera currently leads the team in points and in goals as he has found the back of the net 13 times this season while assisting on 12 as well for a total of 25 points. He is currently tied for 19th in Atlantic Hockey in points. He currently leads Atlantic Hockey in game winning goals with six and is tied for first in the country.
History in the Making.... After the 5-2 victory over AIC that came on Feb. 28, the Pioneers clinched a first-round bye in the Atlantic Hockey Playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season when the Pioneers advanced all the way to the Atlantic Hockey Championship game.
Seniors Assisting .... This years senior class currently leads the team in total assists with 45 as well tallies 9 goals to add up to 54 points. The class is led by Liam Clare who currently leads the team in points and points as he has found the back of the net 1 time and assisting 16 times to tally 17 points on the year.
Magera Tabbed Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Month... Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey freshman forward Austin Magera was named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Month for his impressive play during the month of February. This is the first Rookie of the Month Award any Pioneer has received this award in the past three seasons. Magera had a truly remarkable February as he tallied seven goals, two assists for a total of nine points. He currently leads the team in goals with 13, fourth on team in assists with 12 and leads the team in points with 25. Magera's effort during the month of February propelled the Pioneers to a 7-1-1 record which eventually helped the Pioneers land a first round bye into the Atlantic Hockey Playoffs.