BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh freshman goalie Matt Poillon has been named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week following his contributions in Saturday’s victory over Army, as announced by the league Monday. His performance between the pipes has played a major role in the Mountain Hawks’ current six-game win streak, and a 7-1 start, which is the team’s best start since 1969.
This marks Poillon’s fourth weekly award in the first six weeks this season. He’s previously been named the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week three times, and garnered national laurels with a Cascade Rookie of Week award following his performances in wins over #19 Penn and #4 UNC earlier this month.
The Mount Sinai, N.Y. native most recently backstopped the Mountain Hawks in a win over Army in their Patriot League opener. Poillon made 13 saves, including nine in the first half to keep Lehigh even after 30 minutes. He allowed just six goals total on the afternoon, including keeping the Black Knight offense off the board for stretches of 15:16 and 18:11 at crucial points of the game to preserve the victory.
The performance was Poillon’s third double-digit save performance this season, and he has allowed six goals or fewer in five of eight contests so far. The victory also marked just the fourth time Lehigh has ever beaten Army, and the first since 2009.
For the season, Poillon now owns a 5.92 goals against average and 61.5 save percentage, both fourth best in the nation. He’s only allowed 31 goals over the team’s seven wins (4.43 per game).
Junior Dante Fantoni also earned honorable mention recognition from the league. He posted his 12th career hat trick, with the biggest goal coming at 2:53 of the fourth quarter. That gave Lehigh a 7-5 lead and proved to be the difference.
Poillon, Fantoni and the Mountain Hawks will travel to 17th-ranked Penn State on Tuesday looking for their best start since 1960. Lehigh was 8-1 that year with the eighth victory ironically coming against Penn State. The Mountain Hawks are eying their seven straight victory, which would mark their longest win streak since that same 1960 campaign.
Lehighsports.com will be running a live interactive blog of Tuesday's game beginning at 6:45.
Penn State is Lehigh’s fifth ranked squad of the season; the Mountain Hawks are 3-1 thus far, defeating Penn, UNC and Yale while falling to Villanova. Lehigh is also a perfect 4-0 on the road, hoping to make it five straight. Tuesday is also Lehigh’s final nonleague and midweek game of the season. The Mountain Hawks wrap up the regular season against Holy Cross, at Navy, at Colgate, vs. Bucknell and at Lafayette.
The Nittany Lions come in at 3-3 on the season against a very challenging schedule. Penn State defeated Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State by, with the last two coming via low-scoring 4-3 and 5-2 finals. The squad has lost two, against Denver and UMass, both at home. Jack Forster leads the offense with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) while Matt Mackrides owns a team-leading 11 goals along with two assists. Danny Henneghan owns a 48.6 faceoff percentage and a team-leading 23 groundballs. Meanwhile, Austin Kaut has continued to shine in goal after a sensational freshman campaign; he owns a 59.7 save percentage and 8.14 GAA.
Penn State holds a 32-7 all-time advantage, including a hard-fought overtime victory at Lehigh last season. That was the first matchup between the two sides since 2000. Overall, the Nittany Lions have taken 14 straight with Lehigh’s last win coming in 1971 (12-4). The longtime rivals first met in 1915, a 10-2 Lehigh triumph.
The Mountain Hawks will return home to begin a five-game stretch against Patriot League opponents as they host Holy Cross on Saturday. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m.