UTICA, NY – The #6 Utica University men’s ice hockey team notched a third straight conference sweep, and a sixth straight win on Saturday. The Pioneers shattered a 1-1 tie with a 5-0 run as they throttled visiting Wilkes University by a 6-1 score at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The conference win moves Utica into first place in the UCHC standings. The Pioneers are now 6-2 overall, and 6-0 in the UCHC with sixteen of a possible eighteen standings points. Nazareth led Utica by one standings point at the start of the day, but lost to Alvernia to cede the conference lead.
Remy Parker (Montclair, NJ/University of Maine (NCAA DI)) set the pace for the Pioneers with a pair of insurance goals in the third period. Lucas Herrmann (Elma, NY/University of New Hampshire (NCAA DI)) and Mic Curran (Arlington, MA/Curry College (CCC)) had three assists apiece. Kimball Johnson (Coppell, TX/University of St. Thomas (NCAA DI)) and Regen Cavanagh (Chesapeake, VA/Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)) finished with two assists on the evening. Cavanagh now stands at 99 career points after Saturday’s game. Josh Kagan (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Powell River Kings (BCHL)), Khristian Acosta (Port Monmouth, NJ/Mercyhurst University (NCAA DI)), Jaxon Rutkowski (Rome, NY/Hampton Roads Whalers (USPHL)), and Jakob Breault (Acton Vale, QC/Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA DI)) also netted goals for the Pioneers.
Billy Berry netted the lone goal for Wilkes.
In net, Bryan Landsberger (Montreal, Quebec/Nepean Raiders (CCHL)) made 30 saves to collect the win, while Garrett Nieto made 36 stops in the loss for Wilkes.
The Pioneers out-shot Wilkes by a 42-31 margin. The Utica power play scored once on six chances, while the penalty kill held off all four opportunities for the Colonels.
After a quiet opening stretch, the floodgates opened with three goals in under three minutes at the midway point of the first. Utica once again nabbed the early lead as Khristian Acosta (Port Monmouth, NJ/Mercyhurst University (NCAA DI)) scored at the 9:47 mark of the first period. Wilkes forward Billy Berry answered back just over a minute later with his second goal of the weekend at 10:59. Josh Kagan (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Powell River Kings (BCHL)) flushed a loose puck for his second goal of the season at 12:12, and the Pioneers led 2-1 after one period of play.
The Kagan goal sparked a string of Pioneer goals that put the game away. Jaxon Rutkowski (Rome, NY/Hampton Roads Whalers (USPHL)) netted the only goal of the second period. Jakob Breault (Acton Vale, QC/Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA DI)) opened the third with a power play goal, and Remy Parker (Montclair, NJ/University of Maine (NCAA DI)) scored twice to ice the game further as the Pioneers cruised to a 6-1 win.
The Pioneers host the Utica Thanksgiving Showcase on Friday and Saturday. Trine and Plymouth State are the opponents, and both games begin at 7 p.m.