NE-10 Semifinal Preview: #4 Stonehill Takes on #1 Saint Anselm

Dana Borges finished the regular season as the league's top scorer (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Skyhawks and Hawks prepare for postseason clash

EASTON, Mass. (February 21, 2013) – The fourth-seeded Stonehill Skyhawks ice hockey team will participate in the Northeast-10 Conference Men's Ice Hockey Championship when the team travels to first-seeded Saint Anselm College on Saturday, February 23 at 7:00 p.m.

Admission for Saturday's game is $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for senior citizens and children and $1.00 for students with a valid student ID. The winner of Saturday's contest will play the winner of #2 Franklin Pierce and #3 Southern New Hampshire for the NE-10 Championship March 2.

Stonehill (11-14-0, 6-5-0 NE-10) and Saint Anselm (14-8-3, 4-1-0 NE-10) meet in the NE-10 postseason for the second consecutive year after the Hawks upended the Skyhawks in the championship game last season. This game marks the eighth time the teams have met in the postseason, with Saint A's leading the series 5-2.

The Skyhawks went 2-3-0 in their final five games of the regular season, as they recorded blowout wins against UMass Dartmouth and Assumption but dropped meetings with Franklin Pierce, Southern New Hampshire and Saint Anselm to close out the year. 

This season the Skyhawks have enjoyed some success on the road, earning a 6-6-0 overall record and 3-2-0 mark in NE-10 play away from the Foxboro Sports Center. Saint Anselm owns an 8-3-0 home record and a 3-0-0 clip during NE-10 play, including a 7-2 victory over Stonehill in the only meeting between the teams this season.

The Skyhawks bring a high-powered offense to Manchester, with senior captain Dana Borges (Taunton, Mass.) and junior Bryan Rooney (Canton, Mass.) among the top-three scorers in the NE-10 this season. Borges finished the regular season as the league's top scorer, notching a career-high 37 points on 15 goals and 22 assists. Rooney is tied for second in the league with 31 points on 15 goals and 16 assists.

Bryan Rooney finished tied for second in the league in scoring with 31 points (PHOTo BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill has seen great production from its freshmen this season, as the first-year players have recorded 35% of all points the Skyhawks have scored. Robbie Dorgan (Ossining, N.Y.) leads the group of youngsters with 22 points in his first year as a Skyhawk. Dorgan's 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists ranks him first in the league in freshman scoring. Travis Army (Englewood, Colo.) has surged towards the end of the season, notching four points in his previous two games and 10 points on the year.

Sophomore Chris Tasiopoulos (Norwell, Mass.) and freshman Matthew Palella (Chicago, Ill.) have provided solid goaltending for the Skyhawks this season. Tasiopoulos, the 2012 NE-10 Rookie of the Year, has posted an 8-10-0 record on the season with a 3.71 goals against average and a .893 save percentage. Palella has come on strong in recent weeks, notching a 3-4-0 record and a 3-2-0 mark in NE-10 play this season. The rookie and recent NE-10 Goaltender of the Week winner earned his first career shutout in Stonehill's 6-0 victory over Assumption last week. Palella also registered 41 saves in the loss to Saint Anselm Tuesday night.

Saint Anselm enters the postseason on a three-game winning streak, earning wins over Southern Maine, Western New England, and Stonehill to close out their regular season schedule. They recorded a 4-1-0 mark in NE-10 play over the course of the season and look to repeat as Northeast-10 Conference Champions.

The Hawks will greet Stonehill's high-powered offense with a fast-paced offense of their own. Saint Anselm finished the season tied with the Skyhawks for the highest scoring offense in the NE-10, with each team recording 96 goals in 25 games. Leading the charge for Saint Anselm is senior forward Mike Richard (Derry, N.H.) whose 31 points (19g, 12a) is tied for second in the NE-10 with Rooney. Richard has already shown his scoring ability to the Skyhawks, having recording a hat-trick Tuesday night in the Hawks victory over Stonehill.

Liam McKillop (New York, N.Y.) and Tim King (Weymouth, Mass.) are the other major offensive weapons for Saint Anselm. McKillop ranks fourth in the NE-10 in scoring with 30 points on 16 goals and 14 assist. King, the reigning NE-10 Player of the Week, is the fourth highest scorer in the NE-10 with 25 points on the year. The sophomore has four points in his last three games, including a two-goal performance in a win over Southern Maine last week.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

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