The Stags return home for an important ECAC matchup against the Denver Pioneers to be played on Lessing Field at 1 PM on Saturday April 21st. At halftime, members of the 1972 club team and the 1987 undefeated club team will be honored. Denver comes into the contest with a 7-4 overall record and 3-2 record in the ECAC league play. Fairfield has a 10-2 overall record and is 3-1 in ECAC league play. Fairfield is ranked #17 nationally in both the Nike/Media Poll and the Coaches Poll. Denver is ranked #12 in the Nike/Media Poll and # 10 in the Coaches Poll. This game is important as it will help set the overall seedings in the ECAC tournament.
Denver started the season with a game in Jacksonville, Florida playing Ohio State in an ECAC contest. OSU upset the Pioneers by a 10-9 score. The Pioneers returned home for three home games which resulted in three wins. The offense was in high gear beating Michigan by a 17-5 margin, then beating Robert Morris with a 21-8 score and edging Hartford by a 11-10 score. Denver then traveled to Penn State and beat them by a 14-6 score. Denver continued on the road with a visit to Notre Dame and lost in three OTs by a 10-9 margin. Not only did they lose the game but their highly touted goal keeper suffered a season ending injury. The Pioneers continued to play on the road with a date in Hempstead, NY and losing to nationally ranked Cornell by a 9-8 score in OT. Their road trip continues with a visit to Air Force in an ECAC contest and beating the Falcons by a 11-8 score. They finally returned home and continued their ECAC play with a victory over Hobart by a 15-8 score. Bellarmine was the next team to pay a visit to Denver and the Pioneers earned a 12-6 victory. Last Saturday night, #4 ranked Loyola came to play the Pioneers. Loyola opened up the scoring with 2 goals before the Pioneers responded with a goal. The first quarter ended with Loyola leading 4-2. Loyola pushed the lead to 5-2 and the the Pioneers had a three goal run to tie the game at 5-5. Loyola closed out the second period scoring to lead 6-5 at halftime. In the third quarter, Loyola got the first goal for a 7-5 lead and then Denver went on a three goal run to grab a 8-7 lead. Loyola came back with its own three goal run to lead the game at 10-8 at the end of the third quarter. Loyola again gets the first goal of the quarter to open the fourth period and Denver gets a goal to make it a two goal lead for Loyola. A final goal by the Greyhounds with 21 seconds left in the game made it a 12-9 final.
Denver has a high flying offense scoring 136 goals this year and taking 411 shots. They are averaging 12.36 goals per game with a .331 shot percentage. The Pioneers oppenents have scored 92 goals off of 350 shots. The opposition is averaging 8.36 goals per game and a .263 shot percentage. Denver has scored 88 goals via an assist and 48 goals unassisted. The Denver opponents have 42 goals via the assist and 50 unassisted goals. The Pioneers has scored 9 goals in man up opportunites off of 40 chances for a .225 conversion rate. The opponents also have scored 9 man up goals off of 23 chances for a .391 conversion rate. The third period is the highest scoring quarter for the Pioneers with 43 goals and 41 goals in the second period. The first period has seen the Pioneers score with 32 goals and 20 goals in the fourth period. The opponents have scored 25 goals in the second and third periods. The fourth quarter has seen the opposition scoring 21 goals and 19 goals in the first period. In the two OT games, the opposition scored one goal in the first OT period and one goal in the third OT period.
Defensively the Pioneers have gotten to 366 ground balls versus 290 ground balls for the opposition. Denver has been credited with 79 caused turnovers and the opponents have caused 78 turnovers. The Pioneers have turned the ball over 171 times this year and the opponents have turned the ball over 160 times. The face off unit has an excellent .637 winning percentage. Denver has won 170 face offs out of 267 chances. The opponents have won 97 face offs out of 267 chances. The Pioneers have been penalized 27 times this season versus 44 flag downs for the opposition.
Mark Matthews, #22, is the Pioneers leading point getter and goal scorer. Matthews from Canada (Joe Kern loves those Canadian gunners) has 30 goals and 14 assists for the season. Loyola’s defense shut him out last Saturday night ending his 39 goal scoring streak. Alex Demonopoulos, # 33, has 14 goals and 20 assists this year for 34 points and continued his 46 point scoring streak. Eric Law has 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points followed by Jeremy Noble, also from Canada, who has scored 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points. Wes Berg has 15 goals and 5 assists for 20 points and Cameron Flint has 12 goals and 7 assists for 19 points points in 9 games. Face off specialist Chase Carraro also plays in the field has 10 goals and 4 assists for 14 points. Carraro has won 154 faceoffs this season out of 235 chances for a .655 winning percentage. Last Saturday night, he won 21 face offs. This was the third time in his career he has won 20 or more faceoffs. Jamie Faus was the first team goal keeper until his season ending injury in the Notre Dame game. Ryan LaPlante has been between the pipes for the last five games. He has allowed 43 goals for a 8.67 goals against average. LaPlante has been credited with 53 assists for a .552 save percentage. He has a 3-2 won loss record.
The Stags have scored 130 goals this season while taking 444 shots for a 10.83 goals scored per game and a .293 shot percentage. The opponents have hit the back of the net 108 times while making 413 shots on goal for a .262 shot percentage and 9.00 goals scored per game. Fairfield has scored 61 goals via an assist and 69 unassisted goals. The opponents have 64 goals scored per an assist while 44 goals came unassisted. The Stags have scored 12 goals in man up opportunities in 34 chances for a .353 conversion rate. Opponents have also scored 12 man up goals in 43 chances for a .279 conversion rate. Fairfield also had two man down goals this season both scored by Brent Adams. The Stags offense loves the first period with 39 goals coming in the opening stanza. In the second and third periods, Fairfield has gotten 31 goals in each stanza. In last quarter the Stags have hit the back of the net 26 times. In OT, the Stags have goals in the first, second and third periods. The opposition have 36 goals in the fourth quarter and 28 goals in the first period. Twenty two goals have been scored in the second and third periods.
On defense, the Stags have gotten to 346 ground balls and the opposition have scooped 358 ground balls. Fairfield has created 77 caused turnovers while their opponents have caused 96 turnovers. During the season, the Stags have had 182 unforced turnovers and the opposition have had 173 unforced turnovers. The Fairfield face off unit has 170 wins out of 282 chances for a .603 winning percentage. Opponents have won 112 face offs out of 282 chances for a . .397 winning percentage. The Stags have been hit with 44 penalties and the opposition have been flagged 36 times.
Sam Snow is now the leading point getter for the Stags. He has 26 goals and 7 assists for 33 points. Brent Adams has scored 23 goals and 8 assists for 31 points. John Snellman with his 22 game goal scoring streak leads the team in goals scoring 27 goals and 3 assists for 30 points. Eric Warden’s steady play has resulted in 16 goals and 6 assists for 22 points. Super Freshman Colin McLinden has 7 goals and 14 assists for 21 points. Freshman Drew Federico has 7 goals and 9 assists for 16 points. Off of his big game against Air Force, Tristian Sperry now has 9 goals and 5 assists for 14 points. Charlie Cipriano has played 734 minutes between the pipes this season. He has allowed 106 goals for a 8.65 goals against average. Charlie has been credited with 134 saves for a .558 save percentage.
Keys to Victory-Need to play strong defense in the fourth quarter. Also limit the scoring of Matthews and Demonpoulos. Matthews will not want to be held scoreless two games in a row and Demonpoulos will want to have a big game in his return to his home state of Connecticut. The face off battle will be a key. Denver’s Carraro and Michael Roe are two of the top face off specialists in the country. Who controls the face off X will control the start of the offensive efforts. Expect Snellman and Adams to have strong offensive efforts after being quiet in the last two games. Will this be the game that Drew Federico finally breaks out with a big offensive effort? I am confident Coach Copelan will have his squad ready to beat Denver to secure a higher seed in the ECAC League tournament. Looking forward to this tough ECAC League game. Roger Yergeau ’73