FAIRFIELD, Conn.- The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team kicks off the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals this week as the Pioneers host Robert Morris in a best-of-three series beginning Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena. All games will be streamed on FloHockey.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers ended the regular season on a high note as SHU defeated #20 ranked AIC on February 26 by a final score of 5-3. SHU was tied up with Yellow Jackets 3-3 heading into the third quarter before junior Marc Johnstone nailed the game winner at 17:42 to put the Pioneers ahead 4-3. First-year Braeden Tuck sealed the game with an empty net goal at 18:47 to give SHU the 5-3 win.
Last Meeting... SHU last met with Robert Morris back in 2019 when they swept the Colonials on Dec. 7-8 by scores of 6-0 and 4-2. In the Pioneers second game, senior Jason Cotton tallied his first career hat-trick as he racked in three goals in the first two periods. In the Pioneers shutout win senior Austin McIlmurray led the way with two goals and an assist to cap a point point night. In the past four games against the Colonials, the Pioneers have dominated winning all four putting Robert Morris ahead in the all-time series 23-5-1.
Scouting The Colonials.. The Colonials took the first-round matchup of the Atlantic Hockey Tournament that took place on Mar. 6-8 as they came back after a 2-0 loss to Holy Cross to defeat the Crusaders in games two and three by scores of 2-1 and 5-1 to push Robert Morris to the quarterfinals. The team on the offensive side is led by junior forward Nick Pruksic who leads the team in goals, assists and points as he has tallied 11 goals, 17 assists for 28 points. Guarding the net for Robert Morris is senior Justin Kapelmaster who has tallied a record of 12-14-3 with a GAA of 2.52 and a save percentage of .929.
Johnstone on the Rise .... Junior Marc Johnstone has been a tear latley for the Pioneers as he as tallied at least one goal in five of the last seven games played. He tallied two in the Pioneers 4-2 victory over #20 ranked AIC to cap off the 2019-20 regular season. Johnstone currently has nine goals and a career high 18 assists for 27 points with a +/- of +13.
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.
We've Done This Before.. Last season the Pioneers sat in a familar spot in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament as they hosted RIT in last years Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals matchup. The Pioneers easily took the first game by a final score of 9-4 before dropping the next two to the Tigers. Head Coach CJ Marottolo has said that the series "left a pit in our stomatch" which has been a driving force for success this season and going forward into the teams playoff run.
On the Brink on Team History.....The Pioneers have hit the program history high in conference wins this year as SHU has currently recorded 21 Atlantic Hockey victories this season. The closest the Pioneers have hit to the 19 mark is back in the 2005-05 when SHU tallied 18. The team has also hit a high in most goals scored in program history with SHU tallying 132. As for the most wins in program history the Pioneers have tallied 21 wins which is tied for the most SHU has had in program history.
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 3.88. The Pioneers sit right behind the number five team in the nation in Boston College who tallies an average of 4.00 goals per game.
Cotton and Lee Creeping Up the Record Books.... Seniors Jason Cotton and Mike Lee rank in the top three in all-time program history in single season goals and assists as Cotton ranks fourth with 20 goals on the year so far while Lee ranks fourth as well in most assists in a single season with 28 on the year.