Utica Pioneers Beat Western New England 5-1 On The Road
The Utica College Men’s Ice Hockey team was back in action on Sunday (1/13) hitting the road to Springfield, Mass to take on Western New England University in the second game of a four-game road stretch. Utica College was able to pull off a win 5-1. Here’s a full recap of the action on the ice.
Just 48 hours earlier, Utica opened the road trip with a shocking loss to SUNY Cortland. The loss to Cortland was the first in the team’s 12 year history, and was also the first nonconference loss of the season for the Pioneers, who had beaten #2 Oswego by a 6-0 final just one week earlier.
With a forgettable Friday evening at Cortland in the past, the Pioneers came charging out of the gates in the first period of Sunday’s game. Utica piled up an impressive 17 shots in the opening period as they raced out to a 4-0 first period advantage.
Defenseman Mike Slowikowski opened the scoring for UC at the 4:20 mark of the opening period with a powerplay slap shot marker from the center point. Defenseman Donald Olivieri and forward Trever Hertz picked up the assists on the play.
1:40 later, defenseman Josh Schmitt fired home what would become the eventual game-winner for Utica. Forwards Joel Wetmore and Rob Morton assisted on Schmitt’s goal. The goal was Schmitt’s second of the season.
At the 13:14 mark in the first, Morton picked up a goal of his own for the Pioneers. The New Hartford, NY native picked up his eighth goal of the season to give the Pioneers a 3-0 lead.
Olivieri closed out the first period scoring for the Pioneers with an impressive blue line shot from the right side that landed just inside the left post. With the goal, the highly-touted freshman defenseman picked up his ninth point in the last four games.
In the second, the Pioneers continued to shower Golden Bear goaltender Eric Sorenson with shots, to the tune of 19 in the period. However, Sorenson stood tall in goal for Western New England. He turned aside every shot he faced in the period, including several quality Utica scoring chances.
Meanwhile, the Bears were only able to muster six second period shots, but managed to convert one of them into a goal. Forward Dan Monahan tapped in a back door goal from the left side, with Brandon Stroud picking up the assist on the play. The Bears showed some signs of offensive life after their lone goal of the game, but were unable to convert that energy into scoring as they headed into the locker room down 4-1.
The Pioneers picked up a shorthanded insurance goal in the third from Trever Hertz. After UC defenseman Cody Adams headed to the box for cross checking, Hertz stuffed a pass from the top of the circles through the leg pads of Sorenson to make the final score 5-1.
Pioneer goaltender Nick Therrien stopped 22-of-23 shots in a full 60 minute outing to pick up the victory. The Utica penalty kill unit went a perfect 4-for-4 to improve their nation-leading success rate to an eye popping 91.5 percent. The Pioneers have allowed just five power play goals in fifteen games this season.
Utica will have four days of practice before they travel to ECAC West foes Elmira and Hobart for the second half of their four-game road trip. The Pioneers will visit Elmira Friday, and play No. 4 Hobart Saturday. The Pioneers are 1-1 against Elmira this season, while they have yet to match up with Hobart.
(Story submitted by Utica College Radio WPNR 90.7 FM Sports Director Ray Biggs)