#7 Hamilton College Continentals at #13 Utica Pioneers Game Preview 01-24-2023

By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

The seventh-ranked Hamilton College Continentals and thirteenth-ranked Utica Pioneers are separated geographically by approximately nine miles. On Tuesday night, they will meet at Utica’s Nexus Center for what will be one of the marquee matchups in Division III Women’s hockey this season. Both teams’ coaches are well aware of how big this game is.

“It’s as big of a game as we’ll play all season,” Pioneers Head Coach Dave Clausen said. “To get another step of national recognition this is a big one”. His counterpart, Continentals Head Coach Emily McNamara concurred, saying “we will have to bring our best tomorrow night”!

The Continentals and Pioneers have been on a collision course since the beginning of the 2022-23 season. The similarities between the teams are striking: both lost their first game of the season only to go on extended winning streaks to establish themselves as premier programs in all of Division III. The Pioneers are going into Tuesday night having won thirteen straight games, while the Continentals have won eleven of their last twelve games – which includes six wins against ranked teams (or teams that were ranked when they played them).

The premier of 315 Hockey’s weekly column “One Timers”: 315 Hockey’s One-Timers 01/15/2023 – 01/21/2023.

The Continentals have built on powerhouse up on College Hill this season, as their twelve wins this season have already matched last season’s total. When talking about how well her team has performed, Coach McNamara said “I think the key to our success this season has been our depth. I don’t feel like we’re relying on one player or one line for goal production. We’ve had different players step up throughout the year”.

Hamilton has built a reputation for being a very tough team to play against, and it starts with not only the tutelage from the coaching staff but examples set by the players on the ice. “Our leadership has been awesome this year,” McNamara said. It starts with our captains (Nancy Loh, Abby Kuhns, Maddie Hong, and Maura Holden) but we have really outstanding leadership throughout the senior class and beyond.

Coach Clausen knows his team’s opponents Tuesday night are a very well-rounded squad. “Hamilton is fast, their PK is number one in the country, their power play is 22% and they have one of the best defenders in the country. They are a great forechecking team and don’t make mistakes – they work hard, have team speed and they’ll be tough to match up with”.

Hamilton’s Evie Sheridan (#35) makes a save against Colby while Abby Kuhns guards the front of the net. Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey

The Pioneers have built on the success they enjoyed last season when they won a program record twenty-one games. After a disappointing opening day loss at then #4 Elmira on a late goal off a bad bounce, Utica has gone undefeated since. When asked what has driven his team into the success it has had, Clausen points out “we’re a full team with waves of scoring. The strength of this team is forward depth, we like the fact that we have thirteen forwards dressed every game and they all have goals”.

“We’ve been rolling and we’ve got inner confidence”.

Those waves of scoring are illustrated by the fact that Utica has the fourth most prolific offense in Division III – averaging 4.8 goals per game. The Pioneer’s offense is led by Georgiana Santullo and Erica Sloan, who both have eleven goals and eleven assists for twenty-two points. If that wasn’t enough, the top eight on Utica’s scoring list have at least ten points or more.

Coach McNamara has also taken notice of the Pioneer’s prowess, noting “Utica is obviously really strong this year and it’s always a tight game between our teams. They are capable of scoring a lot of goals and have had great goaltending all year”.

Goaltending is another area where both the Pioneers and Continentals have excelled. Utica’s Angela Hawthorne has established herself as the best goaltender in the UCHC and is among the best in all of Division III. Currently, in her junior season, Hawthorne already has thirteen wins and five shutouts and was just named the UCHC Goaltender of the Week for the fourth time this season.

Utica’s Angela Hawthorne (#32) makes a save. Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

The goaltending for the Continentals has been stellar this season as well, but they are now using multiple goaltenders. Evie Sheridan had established herself as the number one goaltender for Hamilton, starting ten games and earning eight wins along with three shutouts. She was unfortunately injured late in a game against Colby on January 7th and has been out of action since (Sheridan was on her way to her second straight shutout of the then sixth-ranked Mules at the time of the injury). In Sheridan’s absence, Cate Gallagher and Mac Donovan have combined to win three of their team’s last four games.

Tuesday night’s game has game-of-the-year potential, let’s take a look at how the Hamilton Continentals and Utica Pioneers match up against each other.

Hamilton College Continentals Team Records

  • Overall Record: 12-3-0.
  • Conference Record (NESCAC): 6-2-0, 16 points.
  • Away Record: 5-1-0.
  • Head Coach: Emily McNamara.

Utica Pioneers Team Records

  • Overall Record: 14-1-1.
  • Conference Record (UCHC): 11-0-1, 35 points.
  • Home Record: 9-0-1.
  • Head Coach: Dave Clausen.

Hamilton College Continentals Team Offense

  • Goals For: 42.
  • Goals For Per Game: 2.8 (27th in Division III).
  • Shots: 456.
  • Shots Per Game: 30.4.
  • Power Play: 22.2% (6 for 27 – 19th in Division III).

Utica Pioneers Team Offense

  • Goals For: 77.
  • Goals For Per Game: 4.8 (4th in Division III).
  • Shots: 701.
  • Shots Per Game: 43.8
  • Power Play: 21.7% (10 for 46 – 23rd in Division III).

Hamilton College Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

1.) Nancy Loh: 10 goals + 2 assists = 12 points. Loh is 34th in Division III in goals.

2.) Abby Kuhns: 5 goals + 7 assists = 12 points.

3.) Mya Berretta: 6 goals + 5 assists = 11 points.

4.) Claire McGennis: 2 goals + 9 assists = 11 points.

5.) Abby Smith: 5 goals + 5 assists = 10 points.

  • Shots Leader: Nancy Loh with 66.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Abby Kuhns with four. Kuhns is tied for 9th in Division III in power-play goals.
  • Game Winning Goals Leader: Nancy Loh with three.
  • +/- Leader: Mya Berretta at +11.
Hamilton’s Nancy Low (#26) carries the puck through the zone during an early season game against Morrisville. Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

Utica Pioneers Top Five Scorers + Individual Leaders

1.) Georgiana Santullo: 11 goals + 11 assists = 22 points.

2.) Erica Sloan: 11 goals + 11 assists = 22 points.

3.) Carly Stefanini: 5 goals + 12 assists = 17 points.

4.) Hailey Modlin: 6 goals + 7 assists = 13 points.

5.) Carolyn Whitney (6 goals + 7 assists) and Abby Lillis (5 goals + 8 assists) = 13 points each.

  • Shots Leader: Georgiana Santullo with 63.
  • Power Play Goals Leader: Georgiana Santullo, Carolyn Whitney, and Cortney Staniszewski with two each.
  • +/- Leader: Erica Sloan with +29.
Utica’s Georgiana Santullo (#87) digs for the puck during an early season game at the Adirondack Bank Center. Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

Hamilton College Continentals Team Defense

  • Goals Against: 19.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 1.3 (8th in Division III).
  • Shots Allowed: 346.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 23.1.
  • Penalty Kill: 96.9% (31 for 32).
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: 1.

Utica Pioneers Team Defense

  • Goals Against: 12.
  • Goals Against Per Game: 0.8 (2nd in Division III).
  • Shots Allowed: 318.
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 19.9.
  • Penalty Kill: 93.1% (54 for 58).
  • Shorthanded Goals Scored: 6. Georgiana Santullo has three SHGs (tied for 2nd in Division III) and Abby Lillis has two SHGs (tied for 7th in Division III).

Hamilton College Continentals Goaltending

  • Evie Sheridan: Record: 8-2-0 / GAA: 1.41 / Save Percentage: 0.946 / Saves: 245 / Shutouts: 3. Sheridan is 11th in Division III in save percentage, 16th in GAA, and 19th in Shutouts.
  • Cate Gallagher: Record: 3-0-0 / GAA: 0.98 / Save Percentage: 0.933 / Saves: 42 / Shutouts: 0.
  • Mac Donovan: Record: 1-1-0 / GAA: 1.01 / Save Percentage: 0.952 / Saves: 40 / Shutouts: 0.

Utica Pioneers Goaltending

  • Angela Hawthorne: Record: 13-1-1 / GAA: 0.84 / Save Percentage: 0.961 / Saves: 294 / Shutouts: 5. Hawthorne is tied for 2nd in Division III in save percentage and shutouts and 5th in GAA.
  • Maddie Esposito: Record: 1-0-0 / GAA: 0.00 / Save Percentage: 1.000 / 4 saves / Shutouts: 0.
  • Breese Burlingame: Record: 0-0-0 / GAA: 0.00 / Save Percentage: 1.000 / Saves: 3 / Shutouts: 0.
  • Lauryn Brown: Record: 0-0-0 / GAA: 0.00 / Save Percentage: 1.000 / Saves: 5 / Shutouts: 0.

Tuesday night’s game is scheduled to begin at 7 pm EST. For more information about the two teams, including schedules and streaming information, visit https://athletics.hamilton.edu or https://uticapioneers.com.

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