Utica College Pioneers defeat Wilkes University

The third ranked Utica College Pioneers men’s ice hockey team rebound after losing their last game.

The Utica College Pioneers have not had it easy as of late.

In the final of their very own Thanksgiving Showcase tournament, they played the Geneseo Knights. The Knights are the number one ranked team in Division III men’s college hockey, and they defeated the Pioneers 3-0 in a battle of the number one and two ranked teams in the USCHO national Division III poll. After the defeat, the Pioneers fell from number two to number three in the next USCHO poll.

Six days after that game, the Wilkes Colonels paid a visit to the Adirondack Bank Center. The Colonels, like the Pioneers, are members of the UCHC and entered the game with an 8-0-0 record which included a perfect 4-0-0 in the UCHC. Wilkes was also the second straight-ranked opponent Utica College would play, as they are currently eleventh.

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That would all come to an end for Wilkes on Friday night, as the Pioneers defeated the Colonels 3-2 in close. hotly-contested game. Utica College opened the scoring in the first period when Regan Cavanagh found Buster Larsson all alone in front, who beat Wilkes goaltender Michael Paterson-Jones to make the score 1-0. That score would hold into the first intermission.

Jamie Bucell of the Utica College Pioneers makes his move on the backhand against Wilkes goaltender Michael Paterson-Jones on Friday night. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The Pioneers would never trail in the game, although the Colonels did tie the game up twice. The first time was in the second period when Phil Erickson beat Pioneers goaltender Sean Dickson to knot the score at one. Shortly after that, Brett Everson and Regen Cavanagh broke into the Wilkes zone on a two on one with Cavanagh finishing an Everson pass to vault Utica back into the lead. The teams headed to the locker rooms for the second intermission with the home team ahead 2-1.

Utica College Pioneers ranked third in the new national poll

Wilkes tied the score once again with four and a half minutes gone in the third period when forward Jay Gallagher got the puck past Dickson to set up a third-period showdown between the two UCHC powers. With seven minutes and fifty-one seconds left in the game, the Pioneers went ahead for good when Jamie Burcell took a pass from Khristian Acosta (who had been doing yeoman’s work around the net to set the play up) and buried the puck behind Paterson-Jones. Sean Dickson made two huge saves with thirty seconds left to preserve the win for the Utica College Pioneers. With the win, Utica College now has a record of 8-2 (6-0 in the UCHC), while Wilkes falls to 9-1 (6-1 in the UCHC).

Notes: Wilkes outshot Utica College by a 25-22 margin…Utica College was 0 for 4 on the power play, Wilkes was 0 for 3…Regen Cavanagh (one goal and one assist), Buster Larsson (one goal and one assist), and Eric Holland (two assists) led the Pioneers in scoring for the game, while six players had one point for Wilkes…Utica College plays Saturday, December 4th at home in another UCHC game against King’s College. This is the New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss game.

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