Utica University Pioneers Roll Into the UCHC Playoffs

The Utica University Pioneers Men’s Ice Hockey Team is surging into the UCHC Playoffs after another big weekend.

Utica University Pioneers Coach Gary Heenan has his team playing its best hockey at just the right time.

The Utica University Pioneers break out of the zone against the Manhattanville Valiants during their game on Saturday evening. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The number two ranked in the nation Pioneers haven’t lost since November 27th, when they fell to the then number one ranked Geneseo Knights. After drubbing the Manhattanville College Valiants on Saturday and the Neumann Knights on Sunday, Utica has an overall record of 22-2-1 and a 17-0-1 mark in the UCHC. They enter the UCHC playoffs as the conference regular-season champions, and the team’s twenty-two wins are the most regular-season wins they have had in their history.

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Utica University ends the regular season with the second most prolific offense in all of Division III college hockey, having scored 142 goals in 25 games. They have five players in the top fifteen scorers in Division III, broken down as follows:

  • #4 Buster Larsson 40 points (14 goals and 26 assists)
  • #5 Regen Cavanagh 39 points (16 goals and 23 assists)
  • #11 Dante Zapata 36 points (14 goals and 22 assists)
  • #14 Justin Allen 35 points (8 goals and 27 assists)
  • #15 Brandon Osmundson 35 points (10 goals and 25 assists)

John Moncovich leads the Pioneers in goals scored with seventeen and is ranked twenty-second in Division III in scoring with thirty-two points.

John Moncovich of the Utica Pioneers sets up shop in front of the net against the Manhattanville Valiants. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The special teams’ play of Utica University has been incredible this season. They have scored 42 goals on 126 powerplay opportunities good for an astounding 33.3% conversion rate. As great as the powerplay has been, the penalty kill has been just as great or perhaps even better. Out of the 78 times they have been shorthanded, the Pioneers have allowed only two powerplay goals for a success rate of 97.4%.

Complimenting the Pioneer’s high-powered offense in the team’s rock-solid goaltending. Leading the goaltending corps is Senior Sean Dickson. To say that Dickson has been excellent this season (or his entire career for that matter) would be a vast understatement. His record this season is 13-1-0 with four shutouts and a 1.24 GAA and .932 save percentage. After missing a few weeks due to a lower-body injury, Dickson is back and ready to backstop the Pioneers into the playoffs.

The Pioneers goaltending will be in great hands when Dickson graduates, as the team’s two Freshmen goaltenders have been outstanding this season as well. Bryan Landsberger is undefeated with a 5-0-1 record that includes two shutouts and an incredible 0.67 GAA and .965 save percentage. His counterpart, Louis-Felix St. Jean, has a 4-1-0 record to go with a GAA of 2.06 and .890 save percentage.

Utica opens the UCHC playoffs on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm EST at home against the Lebanon Valley Flying Dutchmen (6-16-1 overall, 5-11-1-1 UCHC). Should the Pioneers win on Tuesday night, they will play in the UCHC semi-finals at home on Saturday night against an opponent to be determined.

All statistics courtesy of https://uscho.com and https://ucpioneers.com.

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