FAIRFIELD, Conn.- The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team hits the road for a two-game set at Atlantic Hockey rival Niagara beginning Friday, Oct. 25. with a 7:05 p.m. scheduled puck-drop.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers fell to AIC on Friday Oct. 18 as the Pioneers fell to the Yellow Jackets by a tight score of 2-1. Senior Vito Bavaro scored the lone goal for the Pioneers in the game in the first period off assists by co-captains Marc Johnstone and Jason Cotton. SHU was close to tying the game off a possible goal by sophomore Austin Magera in the third period but it was waved off leading to AIC taking the Atlantic Hockey opener away from the Pioneers.
Last Meeting... The Pioneers swept the Purple Eagles on the road on February 8 and 9. SHU defeated Niagara in the first game by a score of 4-2 as a power-play goal by senior Austin McIlmurray sealed the game as SHU took a 3-1 lead at 01:17 in the period. In the second game, SHU racked up on goals tallying six in the game with McIlmurray and sophomore Nick Boyagian each recording two goals in the game to propel SHU to a 6-3 victory.
Scouting The Purple Eagles... Niagara is most recently coming off a two game series against BIG 10 member Minnesota this past weekend in which the Purple Eagles fell to the Gophers 3-2 in overtime in the first game and fell 4-2 in the second game. Sophomore forward Cam Cook currently leads the Purple Eagles with a goal and assist for two point while defenseman Scott Persson is tied in points with Cook as he recorded two assists over the weekend. In goal the Purple Eagles are led by junior goalie Brian Wilson who this season has recored 25 saves with a GAA of 2.96 and a save percentage of .893. He currently has a record of 0-1-0 this season.
Oh Captains, My Captains.... This season, junior forward Marc Johnstone and senior forward Jason Cotton have proven themselves as key leaders on the team as Johnstone and Cotton are top on the team in points as Cotton leads the team with six points on the season with two goals and four assists while Johnstone as one goal and two assists for three points. Cotton tallied two goals in the tight 5-4 loss to #13 Penn State on Oct. 12 while tallying a hattrick of assists against in-state rival UCONN with three on the day that was the teams season opener on Oct. 5.
Bavaro Breaking Opponents.....Senior Vito Bavaro has been one of the top goal scorers for the Pioneers this season as he netted the Pioneers lone goal in the teams 2-1 loss to AIC on Friday, Oct. 18. He also tallied a goal against Penn State that came on Oct. 12 which was part of the four goal comeback that fell just short as SHU fell 5-4 to the #13 Nittany Lions. He currently is tied for third on team with three points this season as he has two goals and one assist on the year.
Tugnutt on Path Towards a Career Year... Junior forward Matt Tugnutt currently leads the Pioneers and Atlantic Hockey with four goals on the season. Last season as a sophomore he recorded nine goals in the 30 games played while in his freshman season he recorded seven goals on 17 assists for 24 points. If Tugnutt continues leading the way for the Pioneers, he could make a big impact for the Pioneers in the 2019-20 season. Tugnutt tallied his fourth goal of the year at Penn State on Friday night while before Penn State he tallied his first career hatrick recording three goals against in-state rival UCONN in the Pioneers season opener.