OSWEGO, NY – The Utica College men’s hockey team opened up its 2021-22 preseason schedule on Saturday. The Pioneers overturned a 3-2 second period deficit with a string of four straight goals that lasted into the third period, then defused any chance of a comeback by the hosts as Utica defeated Oswego by a 6-4 score in an exhibition matchup at the Deb Stanley Ice Arena.
Utica now turns its attention to its home leg of the preseason against SUNY Cortland on Saturday, October 23rd. Oswego will scrimmage SUNY Canton before diving into regular season play. The two sides will meet again in a regular season game at the Aud in January.
Newly minted captain Dante Zapata (Huntington Beach, CA/Austin Bruins (NAHL)) scored two goals to lead Utica to the win. Curry College transfer Mic Curran (Arlington, MA/Curry College (CCC)) had four assists in his first appearance with Utica, and junior forward John Moncovich (Wilmington, NC/Hampton Roads Whalers (USPHL)) had a goal and two assists. Khristian Acosta (Port Monmouth, NJ/Mercyhurst University (NCAA DI)) put together a one goal, one assist performance. Buster Larsson (Malmo, Sweden/Syracuse Stars (NCDC)) and Mattias Dal Monte (Nanaimo, BC/Amarillo Bulls (NAHL)) also put goals on the board for Utica.
Between the pipes, senior goaltender Sean Dickson (San Francisco, CA/Hampton Roads Whalers (USPHL-Premier)) went the distance and had nineteen saves to snag the win.
Jared Nash, Alex DiCarlo, Shane Bull, and Travis Broughman had the Oswego goals. Three goaltenders split time in goal for the home team.
The Pioneers out-shot the Lakers 26-23. Utica was 4-of-8 on the power play, while holding their hosts to an 0-for-3 clip. UC also recorded eight blocked shots.
The Pioneers looked to one of their newcomers to get the scoring started. At 5:57 of the first period, Utica got into the offensive zone on the rush, and freshman defenseman Mattias DalMonte jumped up into the play. The rookie took a feed from the right wing as he trailed the play, and snapped a shot behind Oswego netminder Steven Kozikoski for a 1-0 lead.
It took all of about fourteen seconds for the Lakers to even things up as Bull scored on the doorstep at 6:11. However, Utica would pull back ahead before the end of the frame on a power play goal. Oswego’s Quinn Warmuth was boxed for interference at 7:19, leading to the game’s first power play. Eight seconds later, Buster Larsson (Malmo, Sweden/Syracuse Stars (NCDC)) puffed the back of the net on a one-time shot from the left wing circle to put Utica ahead by a 2-1 score after one period of play.
Oswego surged ahead in the second period of action to take their last lead of the game by a 3-2 score. Alex DiCarlo tucked the puck inside the left post on a breakaway at 3:10 to tie it up, and the Lakers acquired the lead on a right wing shot by Jared Nash at 11:54.
Back-to-back Oswego penalties would provide Utica with the opening it needed to overthrow the Lakers and make a move. Oswego’s Jackson Arcan and Conor Smart took penalties just 1:20 apart to set up a 5-on-3 situation.
Utica took full advantage of the favorable conditions, starting with a goal just six seconds into the 5-on-3. John Moncovich (Wilmington, NC/Hampton Roads Whalers (USPHL)) converted the two-man advantage as he set a wide base in front of the net, and tipped a shot from the point by Jayson Dobay (Weymouth, MA/Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)) at 14:47. Dante Zapata (Huntington Beach, CA/Austin Bruins (NAHL)) cleaned out the penalty box at 15:18 for a 4-3 lead, and an advantage UC would never relinquish.
Acosta polished off the second period, a run of three goals in just 1:36, and a 5-3 lead when he canned a 2-on-1 opportunity at 16:23. Josh Kagan (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Powell River Kings (BCHL)) and Mic Curran (Arlington, MA/Curry College (CCC)) added assists on the play as Utica carried a two-goal lead into the third.
UC got one more insurance goal in the third by way of Zapata’s second of the night. Oswego battled back to within two goals on a goal by mainstay forward Travis Broughman, but got no closer as the Pioneers took home the two-goal win.