The Utica College Pioneers Mens Ice Hockey Team is ready for their regular season opener.
The Utica College Pioneers finished their preseason schedule with a perfect 2-0 record after beating the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons by a score of 5-1 at the Adirondack Bank Center on Saturday night. The Pioneers will now begin their regular season next Saturday October 30th against the Adrian College Bulldogs.
As for Saturday night’s game against Cortland, the Pioneers had things go their way for just about the whole game. Wearing their navy blue and pink uniforms to honor breast cancer awareness month, Utica College looked worthy of the number one ranking in the UCHC coaches preseason poll they have attained. In the opening period, Utica College got on the board first when senior defenseman Justin Allen scored an even strength goal at the 8:46 mark, and they were off and running. The Pioneers outshot the Red Dragons 8-5 for the period, and played most of the frame in Cortland’s zone.
If the first period was a “feeling the opponent out” period for the Pioneers, they stepped on the gas in the second. Utica College took the game over with goals by Brett Everson, Jamie Bucell, and Shane Murphy to build a 4-0 lead. Everson’s goal came on the power play, which would be the only goal with the man advantage for either team all night. Halfway through the second period, Utica College Coach Gary Heenan replaced starting goaltender, Junior Louis-Felix St. Jean, with Freshman Bryan Landsberger. It certainly could not have been a matter of fatigue for St. Jean (who was credited with the win), as he only faced five shots and stopped all of them. Heenan was most likely looking to get both goaltenders some work in before the start of the regular season.
Landsberger would face a test soon after he entered the game, as Cortland’s Shane Beaulieu was awarded a penalty shot at the 13:15 mark of the second. Landsberger was up for the challenge, as he turned aside Beaulieu with a left pad save.
The Pioneers took a 5-0 lead into the third period, but to Cortland’s credit, they did not give up. They would break the shutout on a goal by Trevor Veneklase early in the period at the 1:07 mark, but that would be all they would get. Each team would get nine shots on goal in the third, but the referees would be quite busy, as Utica College took five minor penalties and Cortland took four.
The USCHO Men’s Division III poll will be out on Monday, and the Utica College Pioneers are expected to have a lofty spot in that poll. Their opponent to open the regular season, Adrian College, is expected to be near the Pioneers in that poll as well. The teams will play on Saturday October 30th, and Sunday October 31st at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica. For more information about Pioneers hockey and athletics, visit https://ucpioneers.com
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