The February 7th edition of the USCHO National Men’s Division III poll has been released and the Utica College Pioneers are ranked number two.
The vaunted Utica College Pioneers Men’s Hockey Team once again swept through their weekend games, this time disposing of Nazareth on Saturday and SUNY Canton on Sunday. The Pioneers now have an overall record of 19-2-0 and a perfect UCHC of 14-0, and for their efforts, Utica College is now ranked number two in the latest USCHO.com Division III Men’s national poll.
The Pioneers opened the weekend by dominating the Nazareth College Golden Flyers (7-12-2 overall, 6-7-1 UCHC) by a score of 7-1 in a battle between UCHC rivals. After Eric Holland opened the scoring just over one minute into the game, the Pioneers exploded for four goals in the second period and an additional two in the third. Buster Larsson had a huge day for UC as he scored his tenth goal of the season and added three assists for a four-point day. Jayson Dobay had three assists, John Moncovich scored his team-leading sixteenth goal, and Rome, NY native Jaxon Rutkowski scored his first goal of the season to complete the Utica College scoring. Pioneers goaltender Bryan Landsberger made eighteen saves to pick up the win and improve his record on the season to 4-0-0 with an incredible 0.57 and .964 save percentage.
The next day the Pioneers returned to action at the Adirondack Bank Center to take on the SUNY Canton Kangaroos (AKA the Roos) (6-11-2 overall, no conference record) in a non-conference game. The Roos struck first with a shorthanded goal by Sam Martin, but that would be the only goal Utica College goaltender Louis-Felix St. Jean would surrender. Captain Dante Zapata notched a goal and an assist, and Jayson Dobay continued his hot play by doing the same, while Buster Larsson scored his second goal of the weekend. St. Jean made fourteen saves to earn the victory, making his record 3-1-0 with a GAA of 2.34 and .877 save percentage.
The Pioneers hit the road for a pair of UCHC games this weekend. On Friday they travel to the Revolution Ice Centre in Pittson, Pennsylvania to take on the King’s College Monarchs (4-15-0 overall, 3-10-0 UCHC). The Pioneers defeated the Monarchs on December 4th by a score of 8-0 in the New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss game at the Adirondack Bank Center. On Saturday night the road trip continues with a short trip to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a rematch with the number eight ranked Wilkes Colonels (15-4-0 overall, 12-2-0 UCHC). The two teams have met once already this season, with the Pioneers taking a hard-fought 3-2 decision on December 3rd at the Adirondack Bank Center. Both games begin at 7:00 pm EST.