FAIRFIELD, Conn.- The #20 ranked Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team travels to Springfield, Mass for a single game matchup to determine top reigns over Atlantic Hockey. Puck-drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Mass Mutual Center and can be watched on FloHockey.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers swept Atlantic Hockey rival Air Force on Jan. 31 and Feb 1. SHU took the first game in overtime 5-4 as senior Austin McIlmurray tallied his first career hat-trick with two of those goals coming on the power-play. In the second game, the Pioneers once again tallied five goals defeating the Falcons 5-2 to walk away with the series sweep and six points in the Atlantic Hockey standings.
Last Meeting... SHU was on the road at AIC on December 3, 2019 where the Pioneers defeated the Yellow Jackets by a final score of 4-2. Two power-play goals by senior Mike Lee and junior Marc Johnstone propelled the Pioneers to the 4-2 victory.
Scouting The Yellow Jackets.. AIC is currently on a six game win streak as the Yellow Jackets are coming off a two game sweep of Mercyhurst that came on Jan. 31 and Feb 1. AIC took the first game by a final score of 4-3 while prevailing in the second by a score of 7-4. They are currently tied with the Pioneers in the first place slot in Atlantic Hockey with 46 points and an overall record of 15-11-1 and a conference record of 15-5-1. Leading the offensive attack for the Yellow Jackets is junior Tobias Faldeby who has racked up 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points. The current points leader on the team is senior Blake Christensen who has tallied eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points. Guarding the net for the Yellow Jackets is senior Zackarias Skog who averages a GAA of 2.00 and a save percentage of .919. He has played and started in 17 games this season and compiles a record of 8-7-1.
Standing on Top of Atlantic Hockey .... The Pioneers have been at the top Atlantic Hockey for five straight weeks. SHU sits at the top with a conference record of 15-6-1 and an overall record of 18-8-2 to claim 46 points at the top of the league. The 46 conference points is the most the Pioneers have tallied in program history since joining Atlantic Hockey in 2005. The most points the Pioneers have tallied prior to this year in confernce was 39 back in the 2009-10 season.
Dominating the State... The Pioneers claimed the first ever CT Ice Tournament Championship on Sunday, January 26 as SHU defeated #17 Quinnipiac by a final score of 4-1. The Pioneers first had to get by fellow ECAC member Yale in which SHU racked up four goals in the opening period to take a commanding 4-0 lead and eventually defeating the Bulldogs by a final score of 6-2. Senior Jason Cotton was named MVP of the entire tournament as he tallied four points with two goals and two assists.
Just Give Lee and Tuck An Assist... Senior defenseman Mike Lee and first-year Braeden Tuck are currently the top assist leaders for the Pioneers this season Lee leads the way with 27 assists which makes his point total to 31 on the year. Tuck currently has assisted on 22 assists which racks up his point total 26 on the year.
Hitting the Top 20.....For the fourth time this year, the Pioneers hit the USCHO top 20 poll as SHU received a total of 92 votes to land the #20 spot in the poll. SHU also recieved votes in the USA Today Poll which SHU earned two points in the poll.
Cotton and Lee Tabbed Walter Brown Award Semifinalists..... Seniors Jason Cotton and Mike Lee were named semifinalists for the 68th Annual Walter Brown Award as announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. The award is presented to the best division one american born collegiate hockey player in New England. The nation's oldest nationally-recognized college hockey honor, the Walter Brown Award was established in 1953 by the members of the 1933 Massachusetts Rangers, the first American team ever to win the World Championship Tournament. The Gridiron Club will announce the finalists and winner of the 68th Walter Brown Award in March, following league playoffs and before the start of NCAA Tournament play. The award will be presented to the winner at the New England College Hockey Writers' Awards Brunch on May 3 at Prince Restaurant in Saugus.
Offensive Power is Shining.....Coming into this weeks matchup, the Pioneers currently rank second in the nation in scoring offense as SHU reaches four goals a game as the Pioneers tally an average of 4.00. The Pioneers sit right behind the number two team in the nation in North Dakota who tallied an average of 4.16 goals per game.
McIlmurray Tabbed Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week..... Senior forward Austin McIlmurray was tabbed Atlantic Hockey player of the week for his five point weekend that came against Air Force. McIlmurray had an impressive five point week, racking up four goals and one assist. He tallied his first career hat-trick at Air Force on Friday, Jan. 31 which propelled the Pioneers to a 5-4 OT victory. The following day he scored his 12th power-play goal of the year which aided Sacred Heart in completing the two-game sweep of the Falcons with a dominating 5-2 win.