UTICA, NY – The #5 Utica University men’s ice hockey team won a third consecutive game on Saturday. Locked in another tight battle at the start of the third period, the Pioneers broke open a 3-2 game with a pair of third period goals to dispatch visiting Chatham by a 5-2 score in a UCHC game at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
The #5 Pioneers inch over the .500 mark with the win at a 3-2 overall record, and stay undefeated in conference play at 3-0. The Cougars fall to 3-2 overall, while taking their first conference loss of the season.
The Pioneers won 42 of 61 faceoffs in the game, and had an expansive 45-21 advantage in shots on goal.
Five different Pioneers scored a goal in the win, with Dante Zapata (Huntington Beach, CA/Austin Bruins (NAHL)), Remy Parker (Montclair, NJ/University of Maine (NCAA DI)), Lucas Herrmann (Elma, NY/University of New Hampshire (NCAA DI)), Cameron Patton (Truro, Nova Scotia/Yarmouth Mariners (MJAHL)), and Regen Cavanagh (Chesapeake, VA/Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)) netting a goal each. Khristian Acosta (Port Monmouth, NJ/Mercyhurst University (NCAA DI)), Buster Larsson (Malmo, Sweden/Utica Jr. Comets (NCDC)), and Joey Berkopec (Hamilton, Ontario/Coquitlam Express (BCHL)) each had two assists.
Bryan Landsberger (Montreal, Quebec/Nepean Raiders (CCHL)) stopped 19 of 21 shots to earn the win, while Chatham’s Ricardo Gonzalez made 40 saves for his first loss of the year.
The Pioneers wasted little time as a two goal scoring burst gave them an early lead. Just 41 seconds into the game, Zapata circled to the front of the net and beat Gonzalez on a one-on-one scoring chance. The Pioneers expanded upon their lead when Remy Parker (Montclair, NJ/University of Maine (NCAA DI)) deflected a shot from the left wing for a 2-0 lead that held until the buzzer. The goal was Parker’s third in as many games. The Pioneers had four power play chances en route to a 12-5 advantage in shots.
Chatham made a comeback bid not once, but twice in the second period. Matt Mood netted the first-ever goal at the Aud for the Cougars at 13:56 to trim the deficit to 2-1. Herrmann offered up a prompt reply as he shelfed a shot on the rush for a 3-1 Pioneer lead at 14:22. That goal stemmed a wave of momentum from the visiting side, and later served as the game-winner.
While the goal provided a huge boost for Utica, the Cougars jumped on a power play chance to keep within arm’s length after two periods. At 15:12, Caden Smith deflected a shot in off his skate, and the Pioneers led by a 3-2 margin through 40 minutes. The Pioneers had 15 of the period’s 26 shots in an eventful frame.
In a tight game, the Pioneers came out with a monstrous effort to seal the win in the third. While building an 18-5 advantage in shots for the stanza, Utica scored two insurance goals to create some breathing room. Cameron Patton (Truro, Nova Scotia/Yarmouth Mariners (MJAHL)) hammered in a rebound for his first goal of the year at 8:11, while Regen Cavanagh (Chesapeake, VA/Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)) banked in a shot at 17:24 for his 96th career point as the Pioneers polished off a 5-2 win.
The two sides meet again at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Aud.