FAIRFIELD, Conn.- The Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey team returns home to host a key Atlantic Hockey matchup against Robert Morris beginning Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena. The following day, the Pioneers will make the short trip to New Haven, CT to host the Colonials at Ingalls Rink on the campus of Yale University at 4:05 p.m. to conclude the set.
Last Time Out... The Pioneers were able to return to Atlantic Hockey play on a high note as SHU edged AIC by a final score of 4-2 on Tuesday night. The win marks the third straight for the Pioneers and the sixth win in the past seven games. All four goals were scored by different Pioneers including senior Mike Lee, junior Matt Tugnutt, first-year Kevin Lombardi and junior Marc Johnstone. Lombardi's goal was the first of his colleigate career while Lee's goal propelled him to first in Atlantic Hockey in points with 17 as he has 15 assists and two goals on the season.
Last Meeting... The Pioneers swept the Colonials in the final two-game set between the two teams that took place on Feb. 1-2 of 2018. The Pioneers took the first game by a final score of 6-2 while prevailing in the second game the following day by a final score of 3-1. In the first game, Vito Bavaro and Austin McIlmurray each contributed two goals in the win while in the second, Austin Magera fired off two goals of his own.
Scouting The Colonials.. Robert Morris is coming off a two game series at Mercyhurst on Nov. 29-30 as the first game was postponed while in the second the two teams tied by a final score of 2-2. Leading the charge on offense for the Colonials is junior forward Nick Prkusic who leads the team in goals with five and overall points with 12. Guarding the net for Robert Morris is senior goalie Justin Kapelmaster who racks up a GAA of 1.83 which is second best in Atlantic Hockey while tallying a league leading save percentage of .951. Overall on the year the Colonials have a record of 7-5-2 and an Atlantic Hockey record of 7-2-2.
Tugnutt Reaching Career Highs.... After the Pioneers 4-2 victory over AIC on Tuesday night, junior Matt Tugnutt tied his career high of nine goals in a single season as he rocketed off the Pioneers opening goal of the game to begin a three goal first period. He already has one power-play goal on the year as well which is the first of his career, as well as has five assists which is four off his tying last years assist total of nine.
Reaching the Top 20.... In this weeks most recent USCHO top 20 poll, the Pioneers received 14 votes creeping SHU closer to reaching the top 20 for the first time in program history. Tuesday's victory over AIC and the results of this weekends games could determine that fate for the Pioneers.
Lee Lighting Up Assists...Senior Mike Lee currently has a total of 15 assists on the year for the Pioneers which evens with his career high of 15 from a season ago. Lee currently sits tied for fourth in the nation in assists per game with 1.00 and sits first in Atlantic Hockey in assists with 15 and sits first in points with 17. Lee contributed two assists in the Pioneers 4-0 shutout of Boston University that occured on Nov. 26 and a goal in the Pioneers 4-2 victory over AIC.
Four Goals are a Consistant Winner.... In four of the last seven games, the Pioneers have scored four goals in a game which has earned them victories in every single game the team has cashed in that many. In total this season five of the teams nine total wins have resulted in four goals scored by the Pioneers. Four goals a game has led to the Pioneers being ranked seventh in the nation in scoring offense averaging 3.69 goals per game.
Luukko and Tugnutt Named Assistant Captains..... Head Coach CJ Marottolo announced on Saturday Nov. 16 that senior Max Luukko and junior Matt Tugnutt will serve as the Pioneers two assistant captains for the 2019-20 season. Luukko has been a key defensive leader for the Pioneers and has made a positive impact on the team at SHU while Tugnutt has rocketed off to a hot start this season as the junior has tallied eight goals, five assists for 13 points. He is just one goal off of tying his career high of nine that he recorded last season.
Man Advantage Belongs to McIlmurray....Senior Austin McIlmurray recorded his eigth power-play goal of the season in the Pioneers win against Boston University on Nov. 26. The senior has tallied at least one power-play goal in seven of the last 16 games he has played in this season. He has surpassed his career high in power-play goals as his previous career high was four from last season. McIlmurray is currently tied for first in the nation in power-play goals with Boston University's David Farrance who has eight. McIlmurray is also on a seven game point streak as he tallied an assist in the Pioneers 4-2 victory over AIC on Tuesday.
McIlmurray and Tuck Tabbed Atlantic Hockey Monthly Awards... Sacred Heart University Men's Ice Hockey senior forward Austin McIlmurray and first-year forward, Braeden Tuck were each tabbed Atlantic Hockey Weekly Awards on Thursday for their impressive play throughout the month of November. McIlmurray was awarded Player of the Month while Tuck was granted Rookie of the Month honors. McIlmurray racked up seven goals in the month of November alone along with five assists for a total of 12 points. Five out of the seven goals were power-play goals for the senior. Tuck had an outstanding month of November recording 10 assists and one goal for his first collegiate goal of his career that came on November 1 against Air Force. He tallied more than one assist in four of the nine games that took place in November. Tuck currently is second in Atlantic Hockey in assists behind fellow teammate Mike Lee who has 15 while Tuck currently has 13 overall this season.