Terriers to face unfamiliar foe in Sacred Heart on Tuesday

Sam Tucker keeps track of the puck behind his goal. Photo by Jenna VanSickle.

The Boston University men’s hockey team (4-4-5, 3-3-4 HE) will welcome the Sacred Heart University Pioneers (7-6-1, 7-4-0 AHA) to Agganis Arena tomorrow night in what will be the team’s final game before Thanksgiving.

Sacred Heart is not a team that the Terriers face too often. The last time these two sides met was October 21, 2016 at Agganis Arena, where BU prevailed in a 7-0 shutout.

The Terriers come into this matchup after earning three of four possible points in a two-game set with Vermont this past weekend, going 2-3-3 since the beginning of November. Meanwhile, the Pioneers come into the contest having won four of their last five games, with a combined 5-3-0 record in the month of November.

Offense has been the name of the game for both teams, too. The Pioneers boast the eighth-most goals per game in the nation with 3.64, while scoring at a 25 percent clip on the power play, which is the tenth-highest mark in the nation, according to the USCHO. As for the Terriers, head coach Albie O’Connell’s group is not far behind Sacred Heart in terms of goal production, ranking inside the top 20 with 3.31 goals per game, while working at 22.64 percent on the man-advantage, also in the top 20.

The Terriers have certainly been top-heavy in terms of production, with the top line of Patrick Curry, Trevor Zegras, who will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Saturday, and Patrick Harper as well as defenseman David Farrance, carrying the lion’s share of the offense. Farrance has been on a tear to start the season, ranking in the top ten nationally in both goals and points.

The Pioneers have a total of eight skaters up to double digits in scoring, with four tied for the team lead at 14 points apiece. Senior forwards Jason Cotton and Austin McIlmurray each have nine goals (tied for third most in Division I), sharing the team lead in that department as well.

Each team has certainly had their frustrations at keeping the puck out of the net, though. The Pioneers have allowed 2.79 goals per game, 33rd in Division I, compared to 3.00 goals-against per game for the Terriers, 35th. For O’Connell’s squad, graduate transfer goaltender Sam Tucker has been solid lately, going 2-1-1 in his last four starts to go along with a 2.58 goals-against average and a respectable .913 save percentage on the season. Looking at C.J. Marottolo’s Pioneers, sophomore netminder Josh Benson ranks below Tucker in both major statistical categories, with a 2.63 GAA and .906 save percentage.

Puck-drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. in what will be BU’s final game before moving on to their Red Hot Hockey matchup with the Cornell Big Red at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

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