The Utica Pioneers Men advance after blanking the Manhattanville College Valiants 4-0 in the semifinal on Saturday night. The Utica Utiversity Women’s Team loses a heartbreaker in overtime in their UCHC semifinal game.
The Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Team (24-2-1 overall. 17-0-1-1 UCHC) is on a mission.
The number two ranked team in the country has been red hot all season, particularly since coming back from winter break in January. Since then, the team is 15-0-1 (including UCHC Tournament play) and has outscored their opponents by a margin of 97 to 17. Per https://uscho.com, overall the Pioneers rank number one in Division III in goals scored per game (5.81), goals allowed per game (1.26), power-play percentage (34.56%), and rank twelfth in penalty killing (97.56%). Individually, the Pioneers have five players among the top twenty scorers in Division III, including Buster Larsson, Regen Cavanagh, Dante Zapata, Justin Allen, and Brandon Osmundson. Between Sean Dickson and Bryan Landsberger, Utica goaltending has posted eight shutouts this season. Suffice to say, coach Gary Heenan has his team firing on all cylinders.
On Saturday night, the Pioneers will enter their sixth conference tournament title game in seven seasons when they take on the ninth-ranked Wilkes Colonels (18-4-1 overall, 15-2-1 UCHC) at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, NY. To get to the Final, the Pioneers demolished the Lebanon Valley Flying Dutchmen 6-17-1 overall, 5-12-1 UCHC) by a score of 11-1 on Tuesday night (Utica Pioneers Dominate Their Playoff Games on Tuesday), and then rolled through the Manhattanville Valiants (10-13-3 overall, 6-9-3 UCHC) on Saturday night behind goaltender Sean Dickson’s eleventh career shutout and goals by Eric Holland, John Moncovich, Buster Larsson, and Regen Cavanagh.
Wilkes will present the Pioneers with a substantial challenge. In their first meeting of the season on December 3rd in Utica, the Colonels and Pioneers met in a very busy physical battle that was won by the Pioneers by a score of 3-2 on third period Jamie Bucell goal. The rematch on February 12th at Wilkes was a very tight-checking game that was tied at one through overtime before being won by the Pioneers in the shootout. Like Utica, Wilkes has a powerful offense, as they are third in the country in goals per game (5.00) and fourth in power-play efficiency at 31.53%.
The UCHC Championship game will be played this Saturday night with a start time of 7:00 pm EST.
Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey Team
After a dominating 4-0 victory over the Alvernia University Golden Wolves (11-14-1 overall, 9-10-1 UCHC) on Tuesday in the quarterfinal of the UCHC Tournament, the Pioneers suffered a devastating 3-2 overtime loss at home in the semifinal against the Manhattanville College Valiants (17-8-1 overall, 15-5-0 UCHC). With the loss, Utica is eliminated from the UCHC Tournament and their season comes to a close.
The Pioneers built a 2-0 lead through the first two periods on a first-period goal by Georgiana Santullo and a second-period marker by Rebecca Brown. Santullo’s goal was her twenty-ninth of the season and more importantly, it was her fifty-fifth point of the season that set a new Utica University Women’s Hockey single-season points record. Through the first two periods of the game, the Pioneers totaled twenty-eight shots on Manhattanville goaltender Franny Gerardi.
Despite Utica putting another thirteen shots on goal in the third period, the Valiants battled back to tie the game on goals by Annie Niedermier and Taylor Ham to send the game to overtime. At twelve and a half minutes into the sudden death extra period, Gabrielle Cox put a shot past Utica goaltender Angela Hawthorne and into the net to win the game and send the Valiants in the Championship Game of the UCHC Tournament against Nazareth on Saturday night.
The Pioneers end the season with an overall record of 21-6 and a mark of 17-3 in the UCHC.