The thirteenth-ranked Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey Team (13-1-1 overall, 10-0-1 UCHC) hosted bitter UCHC rival the Manhattanville Valiants (9-7-1 overall, 9-3-1 UCHC) at the Nexus Center on Friday afternoon. Utica would not be gracious hosts, as they shut out the Valiants by a score of 4-0.
The high-flying Pioneers, the third most potent offense in Division III, got off to an unusually slow start in this game. The visiting Valiants frustrated the Utica attack with a tight-checking style of play that kept the home team grounded for much of the opening frame. Manhattanville, would keep the Pioneers off the scoreboard in the first period and even outshot them by a 10-7 margin.
The Pioneers would break the defensive stalemate in the second period, and it would be their top line that would get them going. Carly Stefanini intercepted a pass in the Manhattanville zone and flung a backhand shot at Valiants goaltender Franny Gerardi, who kicked a rebound right to Georgiana Santullo. Santullo did not waste time putting the rebound into the open net, and the Pioneers took a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, Erica Sloan carried the puck into the Valiant’s zone and flipped a pass to Carolyn Whitney, who fired a shot past Gerardi on the low stick side from the right circle to give Utica a 2-0 lead.
Manhattanville would get a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard before the second period ended. Utica’s Hailey Modlin took a five-minute major for boarding, then fifty seconds later, Holly Silva took a minor for checking to set up two minutes of five-on-three power play time for the Valiants. The Pioneer’s penalty killers and especially goaltender Angela Hawthorne went to work and stifled the Manhattanville advantage – killing the entire five on three. With a minute left in the major, the visitors killed the rest of their own power play by taking a minor penalty, ending their best chance to score all game.
Carrying a 2-0 lead going into the third period, the Pioneers turned on their trademark offensive pressure. The relentless attack resulted in twenty-two shots on goal and two goals. Carolyn Whitney lit the lamp for the second time in the game at the 8:24 mark, when while on the power play she took a pass from Madison Novotny and fired a shot from the left circle and into the net. With 1:46 remaining, Novotny got a power play goal of her own when she drove down the left side of the Valiant’s zone and snuck a shot past Gerardi on the short side to seal the Pioneer’s twelfth consecutive victory.
Game Notes: Utica outshot Manhattanville 38-25…Utica was 2 for 4 on the power play, while Manhattanville was 0 for 4…Carolyn Whitney (two goals), Madison Novotny (one goal and one assist), and Erica Sloan (two assists) led all scorers…Carolyn Whitney led the Pioneers in shots with five…Angela Hawthorne made twenty-five saves to record her fifth shutout of the season and improve her record to 12-1-1…The teams play again on Saturday afternoon at the Nexus Center with a start time of 2:30 pm EST…For more information about Utica Pioneers hockey, visit https://uticapioneers.com.
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