Junior Chris Tasiopoulos has posted a program record five shutouts this season, and his 2.27 goals against average and .932 save percentage both lead the NE-10.
Skyhawks aiming for fourth NE-10 Championship game appearance in program history
EASTON, Mass. (February 21, 2014) – The top-seeded Stonehill College ice hockey team will take on fourth-seeded Saint Michael's College tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. in a Northeast-10 Championship semifinal contest at the Foxboro Sports Center, with the winner advancing to the NE-10 Championship game on Saturday March 1st. The other semifinal matchup will pit second-seeded Saint Anselm College against third-seeded Southern New Hampshire University tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
Tickets for tomorrow night's contest will be $6 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and children, and $1 for students with a valid ID from a Northeast-10 school. For fans not in attendance, live stats will be available at http://livestats.prestosports.com/stonehill/. Stonehill will be sending a fan bus from the Duffy lot on campus to the Foxboro Sports Center at 6:45 p.m. Students can sign up for the bus at the Info Desk. The first 100 students will get into the game for free courtesy of Student Affairs, but students that take the fan bus will have priority over those that do not.
Stonehill (16-9-0, 11-0-0 NE-10) completed an historic regular season with last night's 6-2 victory over Assumption College. On Tuesday night, Stonehill claimed its first NE-10 regular season championship by virtue of its 5-4 win against Saint Anselm. The Skyhawks have now won ten games in a row (breaking the old record of nine set by the 2004-05 team), and they became the first team in Northeast-10 history to finish conference play at 11-0. With its victory last night, Stonehill also matched the highest win total in a season in program history (16), set by the 1976-77 squad.
After defeating Southern New Hampshire, 7-3, in the season opener, Stonehill was up and down over the course of the next two months, posting a 6-6 record midway through the season. After a month long break, the Skyhawks returned to action, dropping their first three contests of the new year, including a 3-2 overtime defeat at Western New England University on January 13th. Stonehill has won ten straight games since that point, earning its first ever regular season conference championship along the way.
Junior goaltender Chris Tasiopoulos (Norwell, Mass./Thayer Academy) has powered Stonehill's record-setting surge with a career season that includes a program record five shutouts and four NE-10 Goaltender of the Week awards. Tasiopoulos leads the NE-10 this season in goals against average (2.27), save percentage (.932), and winning percentage (.722 in 18 starts). The junior made a career-best 46 saves in Stonehill's regular season NE-10 championship-clinching win over Saint Anselm on Tuesday.
Senior captain Bryan Rooney (Canton, Mass./New Hampton School) has been Stonehill's offensive catalyst this season, as he has recorded 26 points (good for third in the NE-10) evenly with 13 goals and 13 assists. Earlier this month, Rooney was named a finalist for the Joe Concannon Award, which is presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England playing at the Division II or III level. He has registered seven multi-point games this season, and has been honored by the NE-10 as its Player of the Week three times.
Sophomore forward Robbie Dorgan (Ossining, N.Y./Boston Bulldogs) ranks second on the team and fifth in the NE-10 with 25 points on nine goals and 16 assists, despite being out with an injury since Stonehill's 3-0 win over UMass Dartmouth on January 28th. Dorgan opened the season with an 11-game point streak, and he was named the NE-10 Player of the Week on December 2nd for the first time in his career.
Junior Kevin Aufiero (Canton, Mass./Walpole Express) also finished the regular season in the top-10 for total points in the NE-10, with 23 on eight goals and 15 assists. Sophomore forward Richard Harris (Grand Island, N.Y./Valley Jr. Warriors) posted the second highest goal total on the team, with 12, while classmate Dan Graham (Billerica, Mass./Williston Northampton) contributed 18 points on seven goals and 11 assists.
Sophomore defenseman Travis Army (Englewood, Colo./Worcester Academy) nearly doubled his point total from his freshman campaign, as he was the second-highest scoring defenseman in the NE-10 this season with 19 points on three goals and 16 assists. Eight different Skyhawks had at least 10 points in the regular season, which tied Southern New Hampshire for the most in the NE-10.
Senior captain Bryan Rooney leads Stonehill with 26 points on 13 goals and 13 assists this season.
Stonehill has been the best penalty killing team in the conference this season, as the Skyhawks have successfully killed off 84 percent (84-100) of opposing teams' power plays. With a man advantage, Stonehill ranks third in the NE-10, having scored on 18.3 percent (20-109) of its opportunities. The Skyhawks have the second-highest scoring offense in the conference, with 3.64 goals per game, and the second-best scoring defense, allowing 2.76 goals per contest.
Saint Michael's (6-16-3, 2-3-0 NE-10) started the season with just one win in its first 15 contests, but the Purple Knights have gone 5-3-2 since then, including a 4-2 victory at Saint Anselm on January 31st. Saint Michael's is led offensively by junior forward AJ Pieprzak (Barrie, Ontario/Ridley College), who leads the team with 26 points on 10 goals and 16 assists, and was recently named to the ECAC East All-Conference second team.
Freshman defenseman Danny Divis (Media, Pa./The Gunnery) ranks third on the team and 11th in the NE-10 with 21 points, while sophomore forward Kevin Altidor (Montreal, Quebec/Millbrook School) has a team-best 14 goals to go with 11 assists. Junior forward Jeremy Wong (Montreal, Quebec/Tilton School) also reached the 20-point plateau for the Purple Knights, as he has recorded 12 goals and eight assists.
Junior Dave Donzanti (West Chester, Pa./Northfield Mt. Hermon) has been Saint Michael's' primary goaltender this season, starting 19 games in net while posting a goals against average of 3.64 and a .900 save percentage.
In the lone meeting between Stonehill and Saint Michael's this season, the Skyhawks earned a 5-3 victory on January 20th in Colchester, Vt. The two teams scored five times in the first period, as Stonehill emerged with a 3-2 lead at the first intermission. Harris scored early in the second frame to give Stonehill a 4-2 advantage, but Wong kept the Purple Knights alive with a goal at the tail end of the period. Rooney potted an empty-netter with 31 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for Stonehill. The Skyhawks have won three consecutive games against Saint Michael's dating back to February 14th, 2012.
Since the inception of the Northeast-10 Championship tournament in the 1999-00 season, Stonehill is 12-14 in 26 games, including 1-2 in the championship game. The Skyhawks won their only NE-10 Championship in 2006-07, after defeating Saint Anselm 2-1. Last season, Stonehill fell to Saint Anselm in the quarterfinal round, 6-3, and in 2011-12 the Skyhawks made a run to the championship game before dropping a 4-1 decision to the Hawks. Saint Anselm has won each of the last four championships, and eight of 12 overall since 1999-00.
Saturday, February 22 – Semifinals
Semifinal 1: #4 Saint Michael's at #1 Stonehill– 7:30 p.m., Foxboro Sports Center (Foxboro, Mass.)
Semifinal 2: #3 Southern New Hampshire at #2 Saint Anselm – 7:00 p.m., Thomas F. Sullivan Arena (Manchester, N.H.)
Saturday, March 1 – Championship
Championship: Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner- hosted by highest remaining seed